NCAA upset kings UMBC share close relationship with Fortnite

Commentary: The perpetrators of the biggest shock in March Madness history compare their triumph to a first victory in the world's new favorite game.

Chris Matyszczyk
2 min read

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.

Virginia was for weepers on Friday night.

Its heavily favored, No. 1-ranked basketball team lost to the University of Maryland-Baltimore County in the biggest upset in March Madness history.

Many wondered how this could have been possible. Just as many, I suspect, lamented that their brackets had been shred to smithereens.

After the game, the UMBC players offered a clue. They're big Fortnite players.

Indeed, forward Nolan Gerrity revealed how deeply the team is committed to the new game, made so famous earlier this week by a marathon contest between singer Drake and e-gamer Ninja on Twitch.

"The UMBC is very big on Fortnite," Gerrity said in a post-game interview. "So we got the No. 1 Fortnite player in the world, Ninja, to tweet about us." (Ninja did, indeed, retweet this very interview.)

He added that before its America East Conference championship game, the team was playing Fortnite in its hotel.

Could this be the secret motivator all March Madness teams desperately need?

It surely must be pleasant to win at Fortnite, but this was March Madness, national TV, instant and permanent fame.

Oh, but Gerrity insisted the two games were comparable.

"It's like your first Fortnite victory," he said in another post-game interview.

Until last night, UMBC was most famous in sports for its chess program

Chess, you see, also has a Final Four. The public research university has been there a record 10 times. It's won the whole thing 6 of those times.

It's also been, Pan-American Intercollegiate Team Chess Champion 10 times. 

I wonder how long it will be before there's an NCAA Gaming Final Four and whether the UMBC basketball team might represent its school. Perhaps Ninja could become its coach.

For now, Gerrity is welcoming all-comers to take him on.

"My ps4 is back in Baltimore," he tweeted on Saturday morning. "Whenever I'm home next i'll play with some of you guys."

Of course, it might take a while for him to get home.

The Retrievers next game is tomorrow against Kansas State. 

Perhaps the teams could have a Fortnite duel on Twitch first. Can you imagine how many people would watch?

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