UMBC. Fairleigh Dickinson. Two names now etched in March Madness history as the only No. 16 seeds to beat a No. 1 seed, and this year's Cinderella faced an even taller task, as it were.
The Knights shocked Purdue in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Friday, rallying again and again to finish off a 63-58 win against the Big Ten champions.
Even by March Madness standards, Fairleigh Dickinson's win was improbable for reasons beyond the double-digit next to its name on the scoreboard. The Knights didn't even win their conference, making the NCAA tournament because of a rule forbidding champion Merrimack from qualifying. They were ranked No. 298 in the KenPom ratings, out of 363 teams. Their tallest starter was 6-foot-7, against the 7-foot-4 Zach Edey. They won four games last year, total.
What the team lacked in height it made up in energy, constantly pestering Edey down low and taking advantage of 16 Purdue turnovers. They were the more aggressive team from the tip-off on, and had the Boilermakers looking like a collective of deer in the headlights by the end.
Most college basketball fans aren't going to know much about Fairleigh Dickinson, so let's take a closer look at a school that just put itself on the map.
Where is Fairleigh Dickson located?
Fairleigh Dickinson University is composed of four campuses, with two in New Jersey, one in Canada and on in England. With over 12,000 students total, it is the largest private school in New Jersey.
The school that just registered the upset was FDU's Metropolitan campus in Teaneck, N.J., which sits less than five miles from Manhattan. It also has a Florham campus that competes in Division III.
This is where the Division I team plays basketball:
This is the student rec-center at Fairleigh Dickinson.— Rex Chapman🏇🏼 (@RexChapman) March 18, 2023
It’s also where they play their home basketball games…https://t.co/XZDwzozxCR pic.twitter.com/UHWTC4N8tm
What is Fairleigh Dickinson's mascot?
The team that just beat Purdue calls the Knights as its mascot, with a logo of a chess piece. The school really leans into it, with a department set of five Knight Values: Integrity, Pride, Resilient, Respect and Unity.
Who are Fairleigh Dickinson's famous alumni?
Fairleigh Dickinson has a fair amount of notable alumni and former students. Among them are former Virginia Tech head coach Seth Greenberg, Minnesota Vikings owner Zygi Wilf, "The West Wing" actor John Spencer, former USWNT player Sara Whalen, ex-WWE wrestler Darren Young and Home Depot co-founder Ron Brill.
How many times has Fairleigh Dickinson made the NCAA tournament?
This was FDU's seventh trip to March Madness, its sixth as a No. 16 seed and its first win.
Who is Fairleigh Dickinson's head coach?
FDU's finest hour comes in head coach Tobin Anderson's first season with the program. He joined it last offseason after nine seasons at St. Thomas Aquinas College in Division II, winning the East Coast Conference four times and going 28-5 in his final season.
He took over a moribund program, which had gone 4-22 the previous year and hadn't made the NCAA Tournament since 2019.
Entering the game, one of the biggest topics of conversation around Fairleigh Dickinson was some comments by head coach Tobin Anderson.
After defeating Texas Southern in the First Four just to reach Purdue, Anderson was seen on camera saying "The more I see Purdue, the more I think we can beat them." The Boilermakers didn't take that well, with one player saying "[Purdue coach Matt] Painter said it was disrespectful. We all took it as disrespectful. We're going to go into that game ready to play, trust me."
As it turned out, Purdue should have been worried about a lot more than disrespect, while Anderson can forever say he called his shot.