March Madness: Fairleigh Dickinson’s wild upset over Purdue busts the final perfect bracket

There were 23 perfect standings for the NCAA Men’s Tournament, including one made by a 3-year-old when Friday’s playlist began.

Only four games a day, that number has been reduced to four. By evening, after Pittsburgh and Creighton had won their first-round games, there was only one left.

It was then one of the biggest upsets in NCAA tournament history, officially knocking out the final draw on Friday night.

No. 16 Fairleigh Dickinson pulled off a wild 63-58 win over No. 1 Purdue on Friday to officially shatter Sportzshala Sports’ last perfect bracket after 24 games. This is only the second time in history that the No. 16 seed has beaten the No. 1 seed since Virginia’s 20-point loss to UMBC in 2018. The Knights also entered the tournament on technical grounds only.

Perdue was the fourth most popular pick to win a national championship.

No. 7 Michigan State’s victory over No. 10 USC hit 13 out of 23 perfect nets to start the day. The Spartans were in the lead most of the way and took a late lead to take a 10-point victory and advance to the second round.

Then No. 3 Xavier narrowly defeated No. 14 Kennesaw State in the second game of the day. The Musketeers bounced back from a 13-point hole in the second half to win 72–67. One man selected Kennesaw State to win, reducing the number of perfect brackets to nine.

Kennesaw State, despite a 13-point lead in the second half, lost to Xavier in their first-round game in the NCAA Tournament on Friday.
Kennesaw State, despite a 13-point lead in the second half, lost to Xavier in their first-round game in the NCAA Tournament on Friday. (AP/Chris Carlson)

While UC Santa Barbara gave a head start and even held a one-point lead at halftime, the No. 3 Baylor took the lead in the second half to win 74–56 in Game 3 on Friday. This knocked out two more perfect brackets, bringing the number down to seven.

Unfortunately, this game knocked the three-year-old out of the grid. He chose the gaucho to advance to the second round.

The remaining seven draws were split in Game 4 on Friday, further reducing the number of players. No. 5 St. Mary’s defeated No. 12 VCU 63–51 after a tight battle in Albany, NY. This eliminated three more perfect brackets.

These four brackets were then split in a game between Iowa State and Pittsburgh. The Cyclones had one of the worst offensive plays in NCAA Tournament history and dropped to 11th in Pittsburgh, 59–41, shooting just 23% from the field.

The two remaining draws were cut in half again after No. 6 Creighton’s 72–63 victory over No. 11 NC State. There is only one perfect bracket left. The user correctly chose his first 23 games, which surpassed last year’s mark of 22.

In the final bracket, #5 Duke won the tournament over #3 Gonzaga, but so Purdue didn’t do too much damage.

On the women’s side, nearly three-quarters of the draw was out after just two games. No. 8 of South Florida beat No. 9 Marquette in overtime in the first game of the day. No. 7 in Arizona then beat No. 10 in West Virginia, 75–62. This eliminated a whopping 71.7% of brackets.

Mississippi State pulled off the first major failure of the women’s tournament on Friday afternoon. The Bulldogs, after going through the preliminary game, beat No. 6 Creighton 81–66 to advance to the second round. Thus, only 1.1% of braces remained perfect. Only 8.1% of brackets were also 10-1 up to this point.


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