When Fairleigh Dickinson coach Tobin Anderson was caught on camera issuing a bold proclamation after the Knights’ win against Texas Southern in the First Four of the NCAA Tournament on Wednesday, it seemed as though he may have unnecessarily given Purdue some motivation ahead of FDU’s matchup with the Boilermakers in the first round on Friday.
The No. 1 seed Boilermakers were already massive favorites against the No. 16 seed Knights, and there Anderson was on national TV relaying a message that had first been shared with him by FDU assistant Kam Murrell, who had done advance scouting work on the Boilermakers.
“The more that I watch Purdue, the more I think we can beat them, that’s what he said,” Anderson told his team, referencing the message Murrell had relayed to him earlier that day. “Let’s go shock the world.”
Roughly 48 hours later, Fairleigh Dickinson did exactly that while becoming the second No. 16 seed in history to ever defeat a No. 1 seed. The Knights, who are the shortest team in college basketball, defeated Purdue 63-58 after Anderson called his shot on national television.
“That speech got overblown,” Anderson said. “We just have faith in what we do. Our guys are so tough and so competitive. I’ll do a better job on this locker room speech than the last one … it was the right message, maybe the wrong audience.”
Fairleigh Dickinson finished 4-22 last season, which made the outcome all the more stunning. Anderson was just introduced as coach on May 3, 2022 after a prolific run at Division II St. Thomas Aquinas. After years of anonymity on the grind through the DII and DIII ranks, FDU finally gave him his first Division I opportunity. Less than a year later, it produced a historic outcome that’s made Anderson a legend.
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Publish Date:2023-03-18 10:11:22