Two NJ Teams Make NCAA Basketball History
Fairleigh Dickinson University, the No. 16 seed in the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament, pulled off a shocking upset against top ranked seed No. 1 Purdue in a Friday night game that made NCAA Men's Basketball history as only the second time a No. 16 seed defeated a No. 1 seed (University of Maryland, Baltimore County beat Virginia five years ago).
“Our job was just to come into the game and throw a punch,” said FDU's Demetre Roberts. “We knew they would throw multiple punches. Just throw a punch back. We knew what type of game this was.”
FDU, located in Teaneck, NJ, had never advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament before yesterday’s game. FDU had to defeat Texas Southern on Wednesday night for the right to play Purdue in the first round of the tournament on Friday.
Purdue struggled throughout the game, shooting poorly, especially from 3-point range, giving FDU, perhaps the most unlikely of underdogs, a chance to start the Cinderella story.
“We’re the shortest team in the country,” Anderson said. "But we made him (Edey) uncomfortable. And the things he made were not easy baskets. I don’t think he ever felt terribly comfortable. And that was just a great team effort."
The shortest of the 363 Division I teams in the country, the FDU Knights, will meet FAU on Sunday (3.19.2023) for a Second Round showdown in Columbus, Ohio at 7:45 PM.
And another New Jersey college basketball team made history Saturday night in a game that was a shocker from the start.
The Princeton Tigers, a 15 seed underdog out of Princeton, NJ, took down 7-seed Missouri in a dominate 78 - 63 win - the largest margin of victory by a 15 seed in NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament history.
The Tigers controlled the game from the start, building a 14-point lead in the first half only to see it drop to a seven point lead by half-time.
"[At halftime] I said we're going to get on that flight tonight no matter what," said Mitch Henderson, head coach of the Princeton Tigers. "When we get on that flight, we're going to be us, and the best version of us can beat the best version of them. And they did it."
Princeton also becomes the second Ivy League team to advance to the Sweet 16 since the NCAA expanded to 64 teams in 1985.
Princeton will play the winner of Sunday's (3.19.2023) game between Creighton and Baylor on March 24 in Louisville, Kentucky.
This time last year we wrote about the miraculous success of another New Jersey team in the NCAA tournament: Saint Peter’s.
Saint Peter’s made history last year as the first No. 15 seed in NCAA history to make it to the elite eight. Surprisingly, Saint Peter’s historic game was also played against Purdue, a No. 3 seed last year.
Make sure you’re watching to cheer on these historic NJ teams!