How the mighty have fallen!

Rooting for the underdog
is as American as a Frank Capra movie!

There is joy in Mudville today, for the Lilliputians have taken down the Brobdingnags. David has slain Goliath. Rocky KOs Apollo Creed. 

The team from Teaneck NJ was ranked 275th in the nation; Purdue of the Big 14 was ranked 3rd. 

The indentured servants at Stately Blaska Manor thought their b&w Philco had blown a fuse! The unlettered field hands were slack-jawed (but then, they always …) The faceless bureaucrats at the Policy Werkes were dumb-founded as Fairleigh Dickinson beat Purdue.

Only the second #16 to do so after 151 previous 16th-seed losses. 23-point underdogs. And the Knights of Teaneck NJ had to win a play-in game to get in. Finished 4 and 22 last season.

The school was founded as a junior college only in 1942 “by Dr. Peter Sammartino and wife Sally,” according to Wikipedia. They named it after a rich guy who gave the money. Keep wanting to pronounce it “Farley” as in Chris but it is “fairly” Dickensian … um, Dickinson.

Not just happy to be here

Got into the big dance on a technicality. Lost their conference tournament. But tourney winner Merrimack wasn’t eligible because it is transitioning from Division 2. (Don’t tell Ron DeSantis.) Other members of the mighty Northeast Conference are such powerhouses as Wagner (NOT coached by Yevgeny Prigozhin), Sacred Heart, St. Francis of Brooklyn, and Central Connecticut (that tiny state isn’t big enough to have a center). 

Fairleigh S. Dickinson 1866-1948
height unknown

Reputed to be the shortest team in men’s Division One basketball, the Knights of Fairleigh Dickinson harassed 7-foot 4-inch center Zach Edey like sand dune midges at a nudist colony. The tallest player the Knights put on the floor is 6’ 6” — 10 inches shorter than the likely player of the year. Its two starting guards are 5-8 and 5-9.

The smaller team stole the ball 11 times to Purdue’s 3 to win the turnover battle (9 to the loser’s 16). The Knights were almost as active as their coach, who was more involved on the sidelines than any of the Boilermakers on the court.

They double-teamed the Purdue skyscraper front and back. Denying entry to the basket in the paint, FDU dared Purdue to launch threes. Purdue shot just 32.8% of their treys on the season — a sorry 279th out of 363 teams. (UW Badgers were #128.)

Like Babe Ruth, Joe Namath and Cassius Clay, FDU coach Tobin Anderson predicted his round. 

A million brackets, busted!

Maybe that’s what coach Anderson meant when he said, well before the game:

“The more I see Purdue, the more I think we can beat them.”

Instead of motivating the Purdue team, it seems to have convinced them. Purdue looked lost. Sure enough, Purdue connected on only 5 of 26 attempts from beyond the arc during the game— a pathetic 19.2%. 

Blaska’s Bottom Line: One-and-Done Purdue has now fallen in the Round of 64 to a double-digit seed for the third straight season.  Might they be in the market for a Luke Fickell type of coach from a smaller school who has their number?

Is the juice worth the squeeze?
Where were you when you heard Doug Lafollette was quitting?


About David Blaska

Madison WI
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9 Responses to How the mighty have fallen!

  1. Pingback: How the mighty have fallen! – Wisconsin Family News

  2. Cornelius_Gotchberg says:

    The Gotch manages a Brackett Challenge @Poolhost with 85 entries this year.

    The standings this a.m. were awash in more Blaze Red than you’d find on Langdon Street during Homecoming; particularly galling has been the performance of his B1GTENSPECIAL bracket which suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous handicapping.

    The South Region has parted like the (heh!) Red Sea after # 2 & #4 lost, and it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that Princeton’ll make the Sweet 16.

    While saddled with the ultimate upset, PU (describing both the University AND its performance) owns far greater ignominy, ousted #2 AZ’s air is rare, to be fair.

    Only 10 (out of 148) 2-seeds have lost in the First Round. Interestingly, 6 of those upsets happened within the last 10 tournaments.

    Six (6) losses in the last 10 (10) tournaments…hmmm…Global Warming…?

    The Gotch

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Cornelius_Gotchberg says:

    Heard a shout of approval from upstairs, which could only have meant one thing:

    Down Goes Michigan…Down Goes Michigan…Down Goes Michigan

    Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of fellers, am I right?

    Anywho, no fan of the Maize-n-Blue to begin with, they’re on the lovely and long suffering Mrs. Gotch permanent $#!+LIST after Dickinson called Bucky SCUMBAGS AND hit that 3 at the end of regulation in a game we needed.

    The Gotch


    • One Eye says:

      And …. they’ve been ressurected! According to the nbc15 graphic anyway, Michigan plays Marquette today!

      In other sports news, Wisconsin State plays in 2nd round of NIT at Kohl Center today.


  4. brynstane says:

    Panem et Circenses!!! Malign forces seem aligned to split us Americans apart and turn us against one another as never before. Our strength as a bastion of peace, material prosperity and freedom not achieved in all the history of mankind has been our unique identity as Americans. E Pluribus Unum!!! Screw basketball


  5. pANTIFArts says:

    This article was extremely well written, and very entertaining.

    However, after reading it MULTIPLE times, one thing is glaringly apparent — Fairleigh Dickinson could not have possibly won this game!!! (at least not “Fairleigh”, that is) Pre-game pollsters and pundits could not have been so wrong!!! There is NO WAY this team scored more points than the #1 team in their bracket.

    One can argue that the results of the contest are illegitimate, but the “bug in the butter” of that theory comes down to one word,– RULES. (mutually agreed upon, time tested, and uniform regardless of personal loyalties.)

    Fairleigh Dickinson did not attempt to amend the rules citing “special circumstances”. Their supporters and players didn’t “tweak” the rules after the game had started, with plays that had previously not been allowed.

    Confidence in the integrity of rules, that is why millions of folks with “busted brackets” are not, at this moment, descending on Columbus OH, intent on taking over Nationwide Arena, to “right this wrong”.

    Basketball has been around since 1891, politics perhaps a bit longer (satire). One rewards probity, while the other tolerates just about anything. People are addicted to both.

    Is the glass half full, or, is the glass twice as big as it needs to be?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Cornelius_Gotchberg says:

      The only hope for The Gotch’s B1GTENSPECIAL bracket lies with IU.

      His maternal Great Great Grandparents left Sullivan County and made their way by covered wagon to homestead in Akan TWSP/Richland County WESconsin in the early 1850s.

      You’re a Hoosier, am I right…We’re Practically PAISON, Can You’s Do The Gotch This Favor…?

      The Gotch

      Liked by 1 person

      • pANTIFArts says:

        Sorry Gotch, have a home in Evansville (IN), but, like many down here, I’m a life-long Kentucky Wildcat. (U.K. the NBA farm team, not the country) I only breathe on non-gamedays. We have a hard row to hoe to the BIG dance. But if we beat K-State, then Mich St/Marquette, we are VERY familiar with Tenn and Bama. Dammit!!! I can FEEL the “jinx” oozing out of my words, and stinkin’ up the place!

        IU is the opposite side of the bracket. So I’ll support your evil plan, but, full disclosure, if you are superstitious, I’m the last person you’d want.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Cornelius_Gotchberg says:

          Fair(liegh?) enough…

          FWIW, with Blue Grass State heritage on both sides, The Gotch is an Honorary Kentucky Colonel.

          The Gotch

          Liked by 1 person

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