March is starting to slip into vagueness already, so it’s a good time to look back at perhaps the greatest upset in NCAA tournament history, Fairleigh-Dickinson’s astonishing win over Purdue.
It was only the second-ever opening loss by a #1 seed to a #16. And while Virginia’s loss to UMBC was the first, this one was far bigger.
Because Purdue was seen by many as an overwhelming favorite and Fairleigh Dickinson really wasn’t supposed to be in the field. They lost in their conference finals but got the bid because Merrimack was not yet eligible for a D-1 bid.
And the Boilermakers had 7-4 Zach Edey, the national player of the year.
On the other hand, FDU coach Tobin Anderson was in his first year and was completely unknown. His team averaged just 6-1 in height, and it seemed impossible that they could knock off Purdue.
As it turned out, Fairleigh Dickinson ran circles around Purdue. And in this clip of the final 1:44, you can really see why.
The ball goes into the massive Edey and FDU knocks it away and picks up the loose ball, up three.
Purdue then gets an open three to cut it back to 58-56. Sean Moore then hit a backbreaking three, with incredible arrogance, over a fast-charging Edey. And we mean arrogance as a huge compliment: look at the follow through! He wasn’t even worried about chasing a rebound because that ball was going in. He had no doubt whatsoever. What a moment for that guy.
It was also his ninth straight point.
A few minutes later, with 1.5 left, a Knight blocked a Purdue shot and then - check it out - head butted the stanchion.
There was no way they were letting Purdue win this one, and, there’s no question about this, Purdue played scared.
Fairleigh Dickinson was the aggressor and, by far, the better team. What a night.