March Madness 2023: Where is Furman University, the No. 13 seed that upset No. 4 Virginia?
The true magic of the NCAA tournament is in the unknown. Every year, one team or player surges to the forefront of our collective consciousness after an incredible shot or a bracket-busting upset.
Just two games into the men's tournament, we may have already found that story. No. 13 Furman University pulled off an incredible first-round upset over No. 4 Virginia on Thursday.
Down by four points with 19 seconds to play, Furham hit two free throws to cut the lead to two points. The team then intercepted an errant desperation heave by Virginia guard Kihei Clark and Furman's JP Pegues nailed a 3-pointer to give his team the lead with two seconds to play. Furman won the contest, 68-67.
The upset inspired incredulous reactions on Twitter, the biggest of which came from J.J. Watt, whose mind was blown by Furman's win.
March Madness off to a HOTTTT start!!!
— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) March 16, 2023
So, uh, what's the deal with Furman University? Where is it located? What's its mascot? And what notable alumni has it produced? We're glad you asked.
Where is Furman University located?
Furman University is a liberal arts and sciences university located in Greenville, South Carolina. It was founded in 1826. Furman plays in the Southern Conference. The team won the Southern Conference tournament ahead of Thursday's win over Virginia.
What is Furman University's mascot?
Furman received the Paladins nickname by sportswriter J. Carter (Scoop) Latimer, a sports editor of The Greenville News. That nickname applied to only the basketball team until 1961, when students voted to make every Furman sports team the Paladins.
Prior to 1961, the Furman football team was the Hurricanes. Its baseball team was the Hornets.
What in the world is a Paladin?
If you've ever played "Dungeons & Dragons" or any role-playing video game, you know a paladin is a knight. They have origins in France and were members of Charlemagne's court.
Furman's mascot is a knight dressed in silver armor with purple trimming. It is available for appearances if you have some extra money to spend.
Who are some of Furman University's most famous alumni?
Furman has a handful of notable alumni who went on to have successful sports careers. Soccer player Clint Dempsey, NFL quarterback and coach Sam Wyche, LPGA pro Beth Daniel, MLB pitcher Jay Jackson and WWE superstar Xavier Woods all attended Furman.
Herman W. Lay, the founder of Frito-Lay potato chips and Charles Hard Townes, a physicist who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, also attended Furman.
When does Furman play again in the NCAA tournament?
Following its win over Virginia, Furman will face No. 5 San Diego State on Saturday.