UMBC made history in 2018, becoming the first No. 16 seed in the history of the men’s NCAA tournament to beat a No. 1 seed, with its dominant 74–54 blowout of Virginia. On Friday, a second men’s team joined the exclusive club of No. 16 seeds to win an NCAA tournament game, with 2018 UMBC and 1998 Harvard women’s basketball: Fairleigh Dickinson.
The Knights stunned No. 1 seed Purdue, 63–58, to make history in Columbus. The feat is made even more miraculous by the fact that under normal circumstances, FDU wouldn’t have been in the Big Dance at all. The team only qualified because NEC tournament champion Merrimack—which beat FDU in the conference title game—was not eligible while in its four-year transitionary period from Division II to Division I.
As the game unfolded, no program seemed happier for Fairleigh Dickinson than UMBC, whose always-entertaining Twitter account was in peak form.
As it turns out, UMBC and FDU forged a bit of a connection earlier this season, when the Knights hosted the Retrievers for a practice as they prepped for a game at Columbia.
Harvard women’s basketball, which became the first team in Division I basketball to score an NCAA tournament win as a No. 16 win, got in on the fun as well.
With attention once again turned to this historic club of underdogs, UMBC is helping amplify a message to Fairleigh Dickinson fans everywhere: get to Columbus for the team’s round of 32 game against No. 9 Florida Atlantic.
The Knights now seek to become the first No. 16 seed to reach the Sweet 16. Their game against the Owls tips off at 7:45 p.m. ET on Sunday. TruTV will broadcast the game.