But FDU actually one-upped UMBC. When UMBC pulled off its historic upset of Virginia, it was a 20.5-point underdog. FDU was an even bigger underdog. In fact, FDU was the biggest underdog to win outright in the NCAA tournament since the field expanded in 1985.
The Knights closed as 23.5-point underdogs. According to ESPN Stats & Info, FDU broke the record previously held by Norfolk State, which was a No. 15 seed and knocked off No. 2 seed Missouri as a 21.5-point underdog in 2012.
In the win, FDU made life miserable for Purdue’s young guards. The Knights constantly pressed and trapped Purdue’s backcourt, causing the Boilermakers to turn the ball over 16 times in the loss. Additionally, FDU limited Zach Edey — Purdue’s 7-foot-4 All-American — to 11 shot attempts while holding Purdue to a miserable 5-of-26 from 3-point range as a team.
— NCAA March Madness (@MarchMadnessMBB) March 18, 2023
Not the biggest upset this season
Purdue has now lost to a double-digit seed in three consecutive NCAA tournaments, but it doesn’t hold the distinction of being the biggest favorite to lose this season.
With that victory in Iowa City, Eastern Illinois became the first underdog of 30 or more points to win outright in the past 30 seasons, according to ESPN. Before that, Stephen F. Austin shocked Duke in November 2019 as a 27.5-point underdog, Charleston Southern beat Missouri in December 2019 as a 26-point underdog, and Gardner-Webb beat Kentucky in November 2007 as a 26-point underdog.
None of those massive upsets came on the same stage as Fairleigh Dickinson's performance Friday.