March Madness NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson, Princeton Look to Defy Odds

Fairleigh Dickinson and Texas Southern tip off on Wednesday (March 15), with No. 1 seed Purdue awaiting the winner in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Fairleigh Dickinson and Texas Southern tip off on Wednesday (March 15), with No. 1 seed Purdue awaiting the winner in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Although two of the state’s biggest college basketball programs, Rutgers and Seton Hall, both missed out on spots in March Madness this year, New Jersey will still be represented in the tournament by #15 seed Princeton (21-8) and #16 seed Fairleigh Dickinson (17-15).

On Wednesday, March 15 at 6:40 p.m. ET, the Fairleigh Dickinson Knights will take on the Texas Southern Tigers (12-20) in the First Four, a single elimination, play-in round that determines which team moves on to the Round of 64. The game will be played at the Dayton University Arena in Dayton, Ohio.

FDU Gets New Head Coach

This is FDU’s seventh appearance in the tournament and the first since 2019 when they defeated Prairie View A&M in the First Four, before their run was unfortunately ended by the #1 seed Gonzaga Bulldogs. This year, however, the team looks to defy all odds and head to the Round of 32 for the first time in school history.

“We had a strong start with that Loyola Chicago game. After that game, we felt like we could go far later on in the season,” Knights Forward, Jr. Sean Moore on Twitter. “That’s why I feel like we’re here today.”

Fairleigh Dickinson’s new head coach Tobin Anderson is credited with guiding the team to get where they are now. Last year, the Knights finished last in the Northeast Conference (NEC) with a 4-22 record. In May 2022, not shortly after the season concluded, Anderson was brought in as the eighth coach in program history. Almost a year later, FDU finished second in the NEC with a 19-15 record and are competing in March Madness.

FDU Head Coach Tobin Anderson

“I’m not sure there’s one thing that makes it happen, there are a lot of moving pieces, but to make it happen in one year is something we’re all proud of,” Anderson told CBS Sports. “I feel like we want to win tomorrow night, we want to keep this going as long as we can.”

While they were not able to qualify for the NCAA tournament, Fairleigh Dickinson’s women’s basketball team will be competing in the Women’s National Invitation Tournament (WNIT). Their first game will be on March 17 against Columbia in Schiller Court at Levien Gymnasium in New York, NY.

Princeton Tigers Take on Arizona Wildcats

Participating in March Madness alongside FDU is fellow NJ school, Princeton, taking on the #2 seeded Arizona Wildcats (28-6) on March 16 at 4:10 p.m. Princeton will also be making their long awaited return to the tournament, last qualifying in 2017.

Similarly to the men’s team, the Princeton women’s basketball team will also be competing in the NCAA tournament, however, they will be playing as the #10 seed against #7 NC State on Mar. 17 at 10 p.m.

The Odds

As of Mar. 14, Fairleigh Dickinson are 2.5-point underdogs and Princeton are 14.5-point underdogs according to the odds from FanDuel Sportsbook. Though March Madness is known to showcase a few shocking upsets and miraculous runs each year, so hope is not yet lost.

If you believe that either Princeton or FDU are capable of pulling off an improbable upset, the FanDuel Sportsbook at the Meadowlands Racetrack can provide you with an arrangement of HD TVs, self-service wagering machines and teller-operated wagering machines. From Mar. 16-19, they will also be offering FanDuel giveaways for fans that arrive early enough.

Daniel Neshan is currently a senior, majoring in Digital Media at Bergen County Technical High School in Teterboro, NJ. He is a student writer for Meadowlands Media, who plans to pursue his passion for journalism and broadcast media in college.