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'We're not this nerdy': UMBC players compare NCAA tournament history to winning in popular video game

UMBC's Nolan Gerrity, Brandon Horvath, Sam Schwietz, David Park and Max Portmann were standing in the locker room in Charlotte, N.C., early Saturday morning in a position surely none of them ever thought they would be — having to explain how the Retrievers became the first No. 16 seed to beat a No. 1 seed in the history of the NCAA men's basketball tournament.

So excuse them, then, for making a comparison that seemed a little … strange.

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“It’s like your first Fortnite victory, honestly,” Nolan Gerrity said in an interview recorded by Mark Armstrong of WTVD-TV in Durham, N.C., referencing the mega-popular video game that's caught the attention of rapper Drake and Pittsburgh Steelers wideout JuJu Smith-Schuster.

Portmann, off camera, was the first to call on his experience with Fortnite when the Retrievers received the inevitable postgame question: Are there words for this?

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Gerrity quickly agreed. "Battle Royale," Schwietz chimed in, referencing the game's standalone, well, battle royale mode, a genre that's grown more and more popular in the video game community with hits such as "PUBG" (PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds).

"We're not this nerdy," Horvath pleaded, waving his arms in an attempt to stop UMBC from becoming a punchline after delivering a shocking knockout blow.

“That might have been a little too far,” Gerrity said with a smile.

If video games weren't enough, the group made sure to give a shout-out to the six-time national champion UMBC chess team. The "powerhouse" chess team, Portmann said.

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When asked, tongue-in-cheek, if the chess team laid the foundation for the stunning upset, the group agreed.

"They paved the way," Gerrity said.

Said Portmann: "We joined the ranks."

So, if you're new to UMBC: Chess, historic upsets and Fortnite.

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