Stunning Upset Is About More Than Basketball
So what was the true value of Fairleigh Dickinson University’s stunning upset of Purdue in the NCAA Basketball Tournament over the weekend? First it clearly put FDU on the map as I’m sure many people used google to search where the school was located before the final buzzer went off. They then had to look up Teaneck because outside of New Jersey nobody knows anything about that town…or is it a city?
Anyway FDU is now known all across the country and one can only imagine what would have happened if they managed to get past Florida Atlantic Sunday and advance to the Sweet 16 later this week at Madison Square Garden. Unfortunately they came up just short and will have to settle for being just the second 16th seed in tournament history to knock off a #1. However the ramifications are all positive as the school received millions of dollars in marketing exposure and at a time when high school seniors make final college decisions the Knights can expect a surge of applications. For example St. Peter’s Cinderella run in the tournament last year resulted in a 57% increase in submitted applications from March 17-July 1 as compared to the year before. Plus donations skyrocketed.
Clearly getting to the Sweet 16 would have raised the bar even higher, especially with the game in New York where fans would likely have adopted the team from Teaneck. But as had happened before the slippers fell off and the clock hit midnight. I know that is corny but I always wanted to say that.
This is not to say there is no David left to take on Goliath. That’s because another New Jersey school is in the Sweet 16 after a couple of stunning victories of their own. Ivy League champion Princeton is still very much alive after upset wins over Arizona and Missouri and will face Creighton Friday night in Louisville. The Tigers are a 10 point underdog but I'm one who would not bet against them.