The Return of the Furman Paladins
Furman University’s basketball program is off to its hottest start in school history. The Paladins are now 9-0 after beating Elon last night, and they also have an early season win against the defending champs in Villanova. They just cracked the AP Top-25 for the first time in school history, but this school isn't a stranger to basketball glory.
Truth be told, we’re not sure how long Furman will hold a Top-25 spot, so we took this opportunity to give the Paladins their due, and give our readers a history lesson on this school's basketball lineage.
How the Paladins won nine straight
It’s been a bit of a mixed bag for Furman. Four of their nine wins were double-digit blowouts. Two of those were 40-point margins or better, including a 102-48 net-blasting fiesta against Bob Jones University to open the season.
Three of the other five games came down to the final seconds and were decided by just two points – a game-winning dunk to beat Loyola-Chicago, an overtime win against Gardner-Webb, and a double overtime win against Western Carolina.
Phew. We’re sweating. Fearless Furman just won’t go down.
And Here's Some Interesting Furman History
Furman’s basketball legacy is legit, but they’ve been left out of the big dance (the NCAA Tournament) for 38 years. Regardless of your age, there’s a good chance you don’t remember a Furman NCAA Tourney appearance. But here’s the cool part…
Back in the 70s, Furman won the Southern Conference six times in the span of nine seasons (1971-1980). They lost in the first round of the tournament five times. They were eliminated in the second round in 1974, but they were a SoCon (Southern Conference) dynasty.
The SoCon has seen a number of recent teams put the madness in March Madness. Teams like East Tennessee State, Wofford, College of Charleston, UNC Greensboro and, of course, Davidson(remember that school Steph Curry led to the Elite 8 as a No. 10 seed in 2008?). All from the Southern Conference.
Of those magical tourney runs and upsets, none have featured Furman. Not for 38 years. And now, this tiny basketball-crazed school in South Carolina -- with a decade of domination in the 70s and the weight of a 38-year drought -- is right back where it wants to be.