Who’s that busting brackets? We’re tracking every upset from a 13-, 14-, 15- or 16-seed and asking: Who can go on a Cinderella run? Here are the results so far.
Round 1: Defeated Arizona, 59-55
Round 2: Defeated Missouri, 78-63
Shortly after Princeton shocked the college basketball world with an improbable 59-55 victory over No. 2 Arizona in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament, several Tigers players gathered together and struck up a chorus.
“We’re not done yet,” they yelled.
Mitch Henderson’s group was spot on as the Tigers added another memorable chapter to their Cinderella story Saturday, taking down No. 7 Missouri, 78-63, and earning the program’s first-ever trip to the Sweet 16 in the process.
“These guys came here to win,” Henderson said following the Tigers’ victory. “We’re beyond thrilled to be here, but not surprised.”
Perhaps Henderson’s reason for not being surprised is the fact he’s been in this position before … as a player.
Henderson led Princeton to a pair of victories in the 1996 and 1998 NCAA Tournament as the team’s point guard. The Tigers’ win over Missouri on Saturday marked the school’s fourth victory in the Big Dance since 1985, meaning Henderson has been involved in all four of those victories.
While those wins as a player certainly hold a spot in Henderson’s heart, what his team was able to accomplish Saturday holds a spot in college basketball history.
With the victory, Princeton becomes just the fourth 15-seed ever to advance to the Sweet 16, and the second Ivy League school to make the Sweet 16 in the past 43 tournaments.
Princeton reserve guard Blake Peters, who averaged just over 13 minutes of playing time per game this season, led the charge Saturday, pouring in a career-high 17 points, while shooting 5-of-8 from downtown.
The sophomore guard stood in disbelief shortly after the final buzzer sounded, with the reality slowly setting in that his team just took another step forward in their unimaginable journey.
“I have no words for it,” Peters said. “When we go out there, we believe in each other. Anything is possible.”
The Tigers will now move on to play the winner of Sunday’s Baylor vs. Creighton game.
Baylor, the 2021 national champions, are a high-scoring offensive group, led by one of the most accomplished backcourts in America. The trio of Adam Flagler, Keyonte George and LJ Cryer combine to average 45.7 points per contest, which accounts for nearly 60% of the Bears’ offensive output.
On the other side, Creighton is one of the most balanced teams in the country, featuring five players averaging between 11.9 and 15.9 points per game. Following a disappointing stretch early in the season, Greg McDermott’s team caught fire in the second half of the season, running off eight wins in a row from Jan. 14-Feb. 11. The Bluejays have won four of their last five heading into Sunday’s matchup against Baylor.
Whoever the Tigers play in next week’s Sweet 16, Princeton players didn’t shy away from sending their future opponent a message.
“They don’t wanna see us,” freshman guard Jack Scott shouted at the cameras as the Tigers celebrated their win over Missouri.
Following a pair of victories that have been as impressive as any team in the tournament up to this point, it’s fair to say no one wants to be on the opposing end of this Cinderella story.
Round 1: Defeated No. 1 Purdue, 63-58
Round 2: vs. Florida Atlantic, 7:45 p.m. ET Sunday
Scooch over UMBC, meet your new best friend Farleigh Dickinson.
The Knights made history on Friday night in Columbus, Ohio, becoming the second 16-seed to ever win an NCAA Tournament game by upsetting Big Ten regular-season and tournament champion Purdue in a manner that was hardly any fluke. Tobin Anderson’s squad outshot the Boilermakers, scored more off the bench and forced 16 turnovers to cement one of the biggest shocks March Madness has ever witnessed.
Yes, even more than the Retrievers’ monumental 74-54 victory over Virginia back in 2018.
You see Fairleigh Dickinson shouldn’t have even been in the position to even knock off Purdue by all accounts. They lost to Merrimack in the NEC Tournament Championship game last Tuesday but received the conference’s automatic bid to the Big Dance by virtue of the Warriors being ineligible as a program transitioning from Division II.
As a result of being the 68th and last team in the tournament field according to the NCAA Selection Committee, FDU got sent to Dayton to play in the First Four. They wound up thumping Texas Southern to earn the short drive over to Columbus to take on the top seed in the East as a -23.5 point underdog.
[John Fanta’s 2023 March Madness instant reaction: FDU-Purdue a true David-over-Goliath story]
Safe to say they’ve now shed that for a far more appropriate label as the latest Cinderella to grace the grand postseason that is March Madness. The question for the Knights now is: Can KenPom’s No. 275 squad go on a run akin to Saint Peter’s a year ago? That Shaheen Holloway-led side also ended up knocking off Purdue and advanced all the way to the Elite Eight.
FDU however, might have a much more difficult path ahead to even reach the East Regional in Madison Square Garden. The Knights advance to face either No. 8 seed Memphis or No. 9 Florida Atlantic.
The Tigers have a veteran core in the backcourt and have been among the hotter teams in the country the past few weeks, knocking off Houston to win the AAC Tournament last Sunday. The Owls, meanwhile, have lost just three times all season and have one of the best offenses in the country with a prolific attack that is difficult to defend.
Even if they were to get past either of those two, a very under-seeded Duke squad that hasn’t lost since Feb. 11 (and controversially at that) or a dangerous Tennessee team awaits in New York. Big East champion Marquette could loom after that.
So celebrate the moment up and down the New Jersey shore all you can, Fairleigh Dickinson, because the path forward in the NCAA Tournament is actually only going to get harder from here after knocking off top-seed Purdue.
– Bryan Fischer
Round 1: defeated Virginia, 68-67
Round 2: lost to San Diego State, 75-52
Looking for this year’s early candidate for a Cinderella ready to go on a dream run?
Well, Furman was the first team to raise its hand on Thursday, with the NCAA Tournament’s first opportunity for a major upset delivering just that.
The 13th-seeded Paladins sunk Virginia, the South Region’s No. 4 seed, which knows all about being on the wrong end of painful shocks, thanks an incredible turn of events over the final seconds in Orlando.
Bob Richey’s Furman team will now take on the winner of the clash between No. 5 San Diego State and No. 12 College of Charleston. The Aztecs are elite defensively, but not great in the scoring column, while College of Charleston is a popular Cinderella pick, tied for the national lead in wins with 31.
Both San Diego State and College of Charleston are experienced groups, and both are riding hot streaks. The Aztecs have won 10 of their last 11 games, while the Cougars are riding a 10-game winning streak heading into the Big Dance.
Whatever comes after this, Furman will never forget what took place across a few moments of true March-style madness.
Deep into the final minute, Virginia looked to have things under control, operating with a 67-63 lead, having taken defensive control down the stretch. But Kihei Clark missed a free throw, Furman big man Garrett Hien (a 51% FT shooter) made two from the stripe, and then it all turned to chaos.
Furman put pressure on Virginia following the resulting inbounds pass, and Clark opted to hurl the ball down the court unsighted. It landed in Hien’s hands and was swiftly delivered to the unguarded JP Pegues, who drained a triple to put his team up 68-67 with 2.2 seconds remaining.
Reece Beekman‘s desperate last effort was wayward for Virginia, and that was it.
This is SoCon Tournament champ Furman’s first trip to the NCAA Tournament since 1980 and the program’s first tournament win since 1974. Thursday’s triumph came despite being without star guard Mike Bothwell in the final minutes after having fouled out.
Tony Bennett’s Virginia team had reached the ACC Tournament title game last weekend, and led by as many as 12 on Thursday, before a comeback spurred by Furman’s Jalen Slawson, who ended with 19 points.
This wasn’t on the same scale as when Bennett’s group was a No. 1 seed and lost to 16th-seeded UMBC – on the exact same day five years ago – but it was an upset few saw coming.
Most importantly, it served immediate notice. Cinderella, once again, is coming to play.
– Martin Rogers
Martin Rogers is a columnist for FOX Sports and the author of the FOX Sports Insider newsletter. Follow him on Twitter @MRogersFOX and subscribe to the daily newsletter.
Bryan Fischer is a college football writer for FOX Sports. He has been covering college athletics for nearly two decades at outlets such as NBC Sports, CBS Sports, Yahoo! Sports and NFL.com among others. Follow him on Twitter at @BryanDFischer.
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