Two New Jersey Teams Making Cinderella Runs in March Madness

Caden Pierce, forward for the Princeton Tiger’s, celebrating after a first round upset against Arizona

Princeton Tigers

Caden Pierce, forward for the Princeton Tiger’s, celebrating after a first round upset against Arizona

Jacob Marcos

The 2023 March Madness tournament has been filled with exciting moments and surprising upsets. The Two teams that have captured the attention of basketball fans are Farleigh Dickinson and Princeton. Both schools have defied the odds to make impressive runs in the tournament, showcasing their talent, despite barely qualifying for the tournament.

Fairleigh Dickinson pulled off a stunning upset against Purdue in the first round of the March Madness tournament. The Knights, who were seeded 16th, were widely expected to be no match for the 1st-seeded Purdue Boilermakers. However, Fairleigh Dickinson played with remarkable poise and confidence throughout the game, never allowing Purdue to build a significant lead. The Knights’ star player, Sean Moore, scored 19 points. His sharp shooting in the second half helped seal the victory for his team with a 63-58 victory. The win was a historic moment for Fairleigh Dickinson, as it marked the second time in NCAA history that a 16 seed has defeated a number one seed. Ramapo and Indian Hills physics teacher, Mr Touhy, states, “When I tuned into the game during the fourth quarter I couldn’t believe what was going on. I thought they had no chance. It was super cool to see, thinking about how close we live to the school.”


However, on March 18th, Fairleigh Dickinson lost a close matchup against Florida Atlantic University in the second round of March Madness. The Knights played a solid game, leading for most of the match and doing a decent job on both the offensive and defensive ends of the court. Their excellent teamwork, solid ball handling, and low turnover numbers were not enough to get the victory. The final score ended at 70-78, with FAU earning a spot in the next round of the tournament. However, the impressive upset against Purdue showcased the team’s hard work despite having a less talented roster. Fans of the Knights are surely looking forward to next season after ending this season on a positive note (CBS).


Princeton, a consistent basketball powerhouse and Ivy League champion, entered the tournament as the fifteen seed. They faced a tough challenge in the first round against the second seeded Arizona, a team who was anticipated to make a deep run through the Tigers with ease. The Tigers struggled early, falling behind by 12 points in the second half. But Princeton rallied behind forward Toson Evbuomwan, who scored 15 points and picked up seven rebounds. The Tigers pulled off the comeback victory, 59-55, and advanced to the second round.

In the second round, Princeton faced seventh-seeded Missouri, a team who defeated Utah State in the first round of the tournament. But the Tigers were not intimidated, and they played with a relentless defense that stifled the Missouri attack who had a very successful season. This time it was guard Ryan Langborg who led the way with 22 points, six rebounds, and seven assists, while guard Blake Peters added 17 points and two assists. Princeton held on for a 78-63 victory, earning them a spot in the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1967. Ramapo student Albert Carilli shared, “New Jersey is on top and it’s really cool to see an Ivy League School in the Sweet 16.” Albert is also referring to Saint Peter’s Cinderella run last season, making them the first 15 seed to make it to the elite eight. Hopefully Princeton can pull off this feat once again for New Jersey (News 12).

Fairleigh Dickinson guard Grant Singleton (4) celebrates after a basket against Purdue in the second half of a first-round college basketball game in the men’s NCAA Tournament in Columbus, Ohio, Friday, March 17, 2023. (AP)


Both Farleigh Dickinson and Princeton have proven that they belong on the national stage, and their runs in the tournament have been a source of inspiration for fans and players alike. As Princeton prepares for their Sweet 16 matchup, basketball fans across the country will be eagerly watching to see if they can continue their magical journeys in the tournament (NBC Miami).