New Jersey: The Cinderella State

Mar 21, 2023

New Jersey’s Independent Colleges and Universities Are Once Again in ‘Hoops Cinderella Heaven’

Last March (New Jersey: the Garden State, the Education State and (for two weeks, at least) the ‘Center of the College Basketball Universe’! – ICUNJ (, we addressed the remarkable and historic runs made by several of our Independent Colleges and Universities of New Jersey (‘ICUNJ’) women’s and men’s hoops teams during their NCAA seasons, including the ultimate Cinderella — the Saint Peter’s Peacocks, with their nationally celebrated run to the Elite 8 in the men’s Division 1 national tournament. (Peacocks’ winning story shines light on importance of independent colleges and universities in New Jersey | Opinion –

So, when this year’s NCAA Tournament began, the obvious question was:

 ‘What can New Jersey’s ICUNJ teams possibly do for an encore?

Well, it turns out the answer is:

 ‘How about not one, but three ICUNJ teams having major upset wins this past weekend, including 16th seeded FDU’s monumental upset of top seeded Purdue, which most commentators have referred to as the biggest upset in the history of college basketball?!’

And FDU was not alone in shocking the basketball world this past weekend. The Princeton men defeated 2d seeded and tournament favorite Arizona and has advanced to the Sweet 16 and its women’s team upset higher seeded North Carolina State on a last second three-point shot.

Think about this remarkable underdog history. Over the past two years, the teams seeded 15th and 16th in the NCAA men’s tournament that are not ICUNJ schools have gone 0-13. Our ICUNJ teams went 7-2!

As a result of all this, our state now is not only The Garden State and The Education State  (NEW JERSEY: “THE EDUCATION STATE” – The “Case” for a Second Nickname – ICUNJ ( It is now, indisputably, The Cinderella State.

The significance of these amazing team performances goes well beyond the courts on which these exceptional teams have played with such New Jersey grit and intelligence. These successes have brought pride and joy to the students, faculties, and administrators on these campuses, as well as to those in their surrounding communities and all New Jerseyans. The nation has also been exposed to our group of incredible 14 independent schools that not only have great student-athletes, but also provide incredible and unique value to their students beyond their campus arenas. So many parents and high school students, especially those in our state and in the region, will no doubt be interested in learning more about what our independent schools have to offer and when they do, they will learn that our schools are:

  • perfectly located in the state ranked number 1 in the country in education and with the highest average income for college graduates!
  • with easy access to New York, Philadelphia, and the incomparable Jersey Shore!
  • have the most beneficial student-faculty ratios, not only in our state but nationally!
  • have some of the best Division 1, 2 and 3 athletic programs in the country!
  • with over 95% of our students receiving financial aid!
  • and an average 4-year graduation rate that is 17% higher than the national average and 7% higher than New Jersey public colleges!
  • with uniquely diverse student bodies, and
  • courses and programs that offer choice and opportunities to explore diverse career paths.

The past week has not only been memorable due to the success of two of our school’s basketball teams, but it has also shined a very bright light on our schools and their students and what they have to offer — and that is that each provides wonderful opportunities for students to LEARN, EARN and SUCCEED (can we somehow link to our ‘elevator speech’ brochure) not only on basketball courts but in life. Find out more at