FDU’s upset of Purdue was even more improbable than you realize

No. 16 seed FDU pulled off March Madness history by stunning No. 1 seed Purdue. Their win was even more improbable than you realize.

For just the second time ever, a 16-seed has knocked out a 1 in March Madness. Fairleigh Dickinson made history with a 63-58 victory over Purdue, knocking out the vulnerable Boilermakers with a victory that shattered brackets across the nation.

The win allowed the Knights to join UMBC as the only 16-seeds to ever defeat a 1-seed. While the Retrievers will forever be etched in the history books for their demolition of Virginia in 2018, Fairleigh Dickinson’s accomplishment was even more improbable than you may realize.

FDU really defied the odds to get into March Madness

In a fun footnote for the record books, the Knights have now won two NCAA Tournament games this year despite failing to win their conference tournament. Fairleigh Dickinson was defeated by Merrimack in the NEC title game but the Warriors were ineligible to participate in the NCAA Tournament as they were in the final year of a four-year transition period to Division I.

That antiquated rule meant that FDU had an NCAA Tournament bid locked up when they knocked off St. Francis (PA) to advance to the final. The NEC title game was essentially meaningless for the Knights but they have followed up that loss with a pair of NCAA Tournament victories.

Fairleigh Dickinson also added a few other firsts to the record books with the victory, including becoming the first 16-seed to emerge from the First Four and advance to the Round of 32 as well as becoming the first NEC school to win a game in the Round of 64. NEC programs were 0-31 in this round entering the game so this was a huge accomplishment for the low-major league.

Tobin Anderson’s team will look to make more history on Sunday by beating either Memphis or Florida Atlantic to reach the Sweet 16. UMBC lost its Round of 32 game in 2018, meaning that there is a ceiling that can still be shattered if the Knights can pull another upset.