Merrimack College defeated Fairleigh Dickinson in the Northeast Conference Tournament, and under normal circumstances, the Warriors would have had a chance to defeat Purdue in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.
The Knights reached the conference tournament finals, losing by two points to the Warriors. But because Merrimack moved from Division II to Division I, they are not eligible to compete in the NCAA Tournament or the NIT until 2023-24. Fairleigh Dickinson, the No. 16 seed in the tournament, posted an incredible victory over No. 1 Purdue in the first round.
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Merrimack’s trainer, Joe Gallo, appeared on the «Full Ball with Doug Gottlieb» podcast and said there were «no hard feelings» about not participating in the tournament because they knew the NCAA rule as they went along. He added that he was happy for the Knights for their upset victory.
«I think the reactions that most people are looking for are not the ones they’re going to get from me. I’m happy for them. I’m happy for the league. I think people are really nice to our league a lot this year. When every team is playing 4-5 guaranteed games and their league starts 0-40, their metrics will never catch up to the leagues.
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«They go and do what they did, not just in that game, I mean 20-piece Texas Southern and it wasn’t even close. I think doing that gives our league a little more credibility… But let’s have FDU keep winning and that the name of Merrimack continues to appear for that».
Gallo told CBS Sports that he was «happy» to see the Knights win.
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Fairleigh Dickinson became the second No. 16 seed to do the unthinkable and defeat a No. 1 seed. UMBC was the first to accomplish the feat. The Retrievers beat Virginia in 2018.