Opponent coach Fairleigh Dickinson ineligible for NCAA Tournament due to Knights success: ‘I’m happy for them’
Merrimack College defeated Fairleigh Dickinson in the Northeast Conference tournament, and under normal circumstances, the Warriors would have had a chance to upset Purdue in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
The Knights reached the final of the conference tournament and lost to the Warriors by two points. But since Merrimack has moved from Division II to Division I, they are ineligible to compete. NCAA Tournament or NIT until 2023-24 Fairleigh Dickinson, no. A 16th-place finish in the tournament caused an incredible upset from No. 1. 1 Purdue in the first round.
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Merrimack coach Joe Gallo appeared on “All Ball with Doug Gottlieb” podcast and said there was “no hard feelings” about them not making the tournament because they knew the NCAA rules as they moved up. He added that he was happy for the knights for their unfortunate victory.
“I think the reaction that most people are looking for is not what they are going to get from me. I’m happy for them. I’m happy for the league. When each team plays 4-5 guaranteed games and your league starts 0-40, your numbers will never catch up with the league.
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“They go and do what they did – not just in that game, I mean they played South Texas with 20 players and it wasn’t even close. I think their actions give our league a little more credibility… But let’s keep FDU winning and Merrimack’s name keeps coming up because of it.”
Gallo told CBS Sports he was “happy” to see the Knights win.
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Fairleigh Dickinson became the second racket of the world. 16 seeds to do the unthinkable and upset No. 1 seed UMBC was the first to accomplish the feat. Retrievers win Virginia in 2018.