In historic fashion, the #16 seed Fairleigh Dickinson Knights upset the #1 seed Purdue Boilermakers tonight, thereby making Purdue now the second program to lose to a #16 seed in the NCAA Tournament. With this result, the Virginia Cavaliers men’s basketball program is officially no longer the only team to suffer the worst sort of upset in sports.
In arguably an even bigger upset that UVA vs UMBC in 2018, FDU overcame being the shortest team in college basketball against Purdue and 7’4” star big man Zach Edey. In fact, FDU entered tonight’s game ranked as the 298th team in college basketball on KenPom compared to Purdue being #5. Comparatively, Virginia was #2 on KenPom following the 2018 tournament with UMBC at #166. Additionally, FDU was a 23.5 underdog vs Purdue compared to UMBC being a 20.5 point underdog. Of course, the Retrievers did beat the Cavaliers by 20 points relative to the Knights’ five-point margin of victory.
Nevertheless, nobody cares about that right now. UVA and all Wahoo fans have officially been freed of the burden of being the only program and fan base to lose to a sixteen seed. Yes, the 2019 National Championship absolutely amended that result. But, now, misery has company, and Purdue (who UVA beat in thrilling fashion in the 2019 Elite Eight) doesn’t even have a natty to its name. Even yesterday’s upset to Furman feels a bit less sharp now.
That being said, we do of course feel for our Boilermaker friends. We know that pain, and it sure isn’t fun. But that doesn’t mean that Wahoos everywhere can’t finally enjoy the thrill of a 16 seed beating a one.