ATLANTA — In one of the biggest upsets we'll likely see at the 2023 NCAA Tournament, Furman University sprang a surprise on the University of Virginia Cavaliers on Thursday in the opening round of March Madness.
Furman, who made it to March Madness by winning the Southern Conference Tournament, aren't exactly a familiar face at the NCAA Tournament - this is their first appearance since 1980.
That makes their upset over fourth-seeded Virginia - who won the national championship in 2019 - all the more remarkable.
The Paladins won on Thursday with an unbelievable sequence at the end of the game, pulling off a steal at midcourt and draining a three to go ahead.
Here's some fast facts about the Furman Paladins basketball team:
Where is Furman University?
Furman University is located in Greenville, South Carolina, which is about 150 miles northeast of Atlanta.
What is a Paladin?
A Paladin is a reference to the legendary knights who served Charlemagne, according to dictionary.com, and more generally can refer to any sort of knight or heroic champion.
The Furman University library site notes: "Paladins refers to the knights of Charlemagne's Court who were men of courage and daring, persons of 'outstanding worth or quality who are firm in support of some cause or objective.'"
It also has a strong association with the Dungeons and Dragons board game.
Why is Furman called the Paladins?
According to the library website at Furman University, the school's sports teams were named the Paladins in 1961.
The website states: "The football team had been named the Purple Hurricanes in the 1920s. The basketball team had previously been named the 'Paladins' and the 'Paladins of the court' by the late J. Carter (Scoop) Latimer, former sports editor of The Greenville News. The baseball team was previously known as the 'Hornets' and the cross country and track teams were the 'Harriers.'"