Furman tops Virginia in first upset of 2023 March Madness after wild finish

Furman tops Virginia in first wild upset of 2023 March Madness originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The Madness has arrived. Hello Furman, farewell Virginia.

Less than three hours into the 2023 men's NCAA basketball tournament, the first major upset -- and almost buzzer-beater -- of March Madness has happened.

The No. 13-seeded Furman Paladins (28-7) are into the second round of the tournament in the South Region, while the No. 4-seed Virginia Cavaliers (25-8) are headed home much earlier than expected. And the result came in dramatic fashion with a game-winning, 3-point shot from Furman's JP Pegues with 2.2 seconds left.

Furman held on to a 68-67 win over Virginia in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday, coming from behind to erase a five-point halftime deficit.

Senior forward Jalen Slawson propelled the Paladins with 19 points, 10 rebounds and four assists, turning in the first noteworthy individual performance of this year's March Madness.

Kadin Shedrick led UVA with 15 points and 13 rebounds in a losing effort.

While the college basketball world continues watching the Big Dance unfold, let's dive in deeper to find out more about the first Cinderella of the 2023 NCAA Tournament:

Where is Furman located?

Furman is located in Greenville, S.C. Ironically, Virginia was in Greenville last weekend playing in the ACC tournament.

Virginia finished runners-up in that tournament and No. 2 overall in ACC play during the regular season.

What conference is Furman in?

Furman plays in the Southern Conference, and won that conference's automatic bid to the 2023 NCAA Tournament with a 88-79 win over Chattanooga on March 8.

When was the last time Furman was in the NCAA Tournament?

Furman's last March Madness appearance came in 1980, making Thursday's upset 43 years in the making.

What is a Paladin?

Surely, the first question on everyone's mind when seeing Furman's school mascot.

A paladin is a knight. The origins of said knight date back to the 8th century and has been described as "a strong supporter or defender of a cause," according to the American Heritage College Dictionary.

Why is Furman called the Paladins?

College newspaper fans rejoice. The Paladin, Furman's student newspaper, has done extensive Paladin research.

Seems only fitting that The Paladin would be the ultimate resource on all things paladin -- and Furman.

According to The Paladin, Furman was a school of many identities before settling on their current nickname in 1961. The baseball team was the Hornets, the football team was the Hurricanes, and the basketball team was the Paladins. Guess which side won out in this feud?

While the football team held on to other nicknames (Purple Fighters and Purple Hurricanes are two of the school's library cites), students in the early 60s finally put it to a vote and came up with the universal name that the school's athletic program has used ever since.

When is Furman playing next in the NCAA Tournament?

The Paladins will play the winner of No. 12 College of Charleston and No. 5 San Diego State on Saturday for a spot in the Sweet 16.