College Basketball

Fairleigh Dickinson upsets Purdue as 23.5-point underdogs to advance to Round of 32

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No. 16 Fairleigh Dickinson defeated No. 1 Purdue 63-58 as 23.5-point underdogs in Friday night’s first-round matchup of the 2023 NCAA Tournament. The Knights completed the largest upset during March Madness of the NCAA Tournament since the field expanded in 1985.

The previous record was set by Norfolk State in 2012 for upsetting No. 2 Missouri as 21.5-point underdogs in the Round of 64. Now, Fairleigh Dickinson is only the second 16 seed to reach the Round of 32, and the first team from the Northeast Conference to win a game in the Round of 64.

Per a few March Madness betting sites, Fairleigh Dickinson holds 30th-ranked odds to win the NCAA Tournament. Sportsbooks are giving No. 7 Northwestern, No. 11 Pittsburgh, No. 7 Missouri, and other teams better odds.

“The more I watch Purdue, the more I think we can beat them,” said Knights head coach Tobin Anderson following Wednesday’s 63-58 win over No. 16 Texas Southern in the First Four. “Let’s go shock the world.”

Before Friday’s improbable win, 16-seeds were 1-150 in the opening round, according to ESPN. Fairleigh Dickinson joined the University of Maryland-Baltimore County as the only 16-seeds in NCAA Tournament history to defeat a top-ranked contender. After eliminating Virginia in 2018, the Retrievers became the first men’s 16th-ranked team to beat a No. 1 seed.

No. 16 Fairleigh Dickinson upsets No. 1 Purdue as 23.5-point underdogs to advance to Round of 32

Junior forward Sean Moore led Fairleigh Dickinson in scoring with 19 points. Moore also amassed five rebounds, one steal, and two blocks in 28 minutes of action. Senior guard Demetre Roberts ended his outing with 12 points, four boards, and four assists as well.

“I wanted our guys to believe,” added Anderson. “We [couldn’t] just be happy to be here. I had belief, but I’m not sure I had that much belief… It’s hard for freshmen to play against two fifth-year seniors. But I think with having two fifth-year seniors, we had the advantage there.”

Purdue had 10-1 odds to win the NCAA Tournament, and Fairleigh Dickinson held 16-1 odds to upset the Boilermakers. To add insult to injury, Purdue became the first team to lose back-to-back NCAA Tournament games against 15-seeds or worse. In last year’s Sweet 16, the Boilermakers were defeated by No. 15 Saint Peter’s.

Additionally, Fairleigh Dickinson is now scheduled to take on Florida Atlantic this Sunday. Sportsbooks show the Knights as 13-point underdogs. Florida Atlantic is 4-0 this season in games played at a neutral site. Not to mention, the Owls are entering the second-round matchup on an eight-game win streak.

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James is a Basketball Insiders contributor. He earned his bachelor's degree in English and Creative Writing at Southern New Hampshire University. James enjoys watching sports and helping gamblers win money.

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