Good afternoon, sports fans. Welcome to the third round of the Gale Catlett Region of the All-Time Favorite Cincinnati Bearcat Basketball Player Tournament. We already broke down the results of the second round and laid out the third for the Ed Jucker Region (which you can find here) and now its time to do the same for the next portion of the bracket. Without further ado, let’s get to it.
No. 1 Danny Fortson defeats No. 8 Melvin Levett
I have been a self proclaimed Fortson supporter for quite some time, so I knew where I would lean on this. Outside of my personal echo chamber, I got a lot of positive response about Levett. That had me worried that Fortson would be relegated to becoming the first No. 1 seed to exit, but that did not come to pass. Still, Levett gave Fortson a run, losing out by a 64.3-35.7 percent margin. Now I will have plenty of time to champion Fortson, but it seems only right that I give Levett his due. In this matchup, as with many of them, one favorite beat out another favorite. Few players were as exciting to watch dunk as The Helicopter and my own propensity for Fortson should in no way diminish the fact that Levett is one of my and Bearcat fans in general’s favorites. Now watch him destroy a rim.
Hmm. Maybe we’ve all made a mistake...
No 5. Troy Caupain defeats No. 4 Lloyd Batts
I’ll give myself a little pat on the back for calling this one. But honestly that pat isn’t really deserved as most could probably see this coming. Caupain America etched himself into the hearts of Bearcats fans young and old over the last four seasons, and that was evident by his 73.8 percent to 26.2 percent win. If Batts had played during a more successful time in Bearcats history, he may have gotten past Caupain, but its tough to argue against a guy who went to the NCAA Tournament four years in a row.
No. 2 Nick Van Exel defeats No. 7 Bobby Brannen
Seeding is not an exact science, so Van Exel being put in as a No. 2 isn’t a crime, but it certainly appears that he deserved a No. 1 spot after winning yet another vote unanimously. The first-team All-Great Midwest point guard and junior college transfer only played for two seasons, which makes me wonder how much more beloved he would be had he been at UC from the beginning.
No. 6 Cashmere Wright defeats No. 3 Field Williams
Another No. 6 seed joins the Sweet 16, as Wright knocks off Williams, a fan favorite to be sure. Wright finished 22nd all-time in scoring at UC and was a member of the program’s last Sweet 16 team. That was enough to push him past Williams, the No. 47 all-time UC scorer, who made the Sweet 16 as well, but as a freshmen when he averaged 3.1 points per game.
After counting up the votes and declaring winners, here is the updated bracket.
No. 1 Danny Fortson vs. No. 5 Troy Caupain
I think Fortson may be in trouble here. He was the only No. 1 seed not to win his first round matchup unanimously and he certainly didn’t stomp his way through the second round. Before I get to Caupain, a reminder, Fortson was an All-American and the 1997 Conference USA Player of the Year. He is fifth in all-time scoring at UC and third in career field goal percentage. He was really effin good.
But, while Caupain didn’t reach such heights, he is UC’s all-time assist leader and damnit if he wasn’t one hell of a grinder. I’m not actually certain who I’d even go with here, so I wish you luck, voters.
No. 2 Nick Van Exel vs. No. 6 Cashmere Wright
Van Exel has gotten every single vote cast in his first two matchups. That’s certainly not sustainable the whole tournament or at least I don’t think it is. If Wright is going to pull the upset it will be because of either recency or the fact that he played for four seasons on some stellar teams. If Van Exel is going to win it will be because he is one of the most well known (and talented) Bearcats in program history, as well as a pillar of the Bob Huggins era.
You know what to do now. Vote with your heart.