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The All-Time Favorite Cincinnati Bearcat Basketball Player Tournament: Oscar Robertson is the First Finalist

Even though he played more than 50 years ago, the Big O is still revered among Bearcat fans.

Oscar Robertson National Player Of The Year Award Photo by Maxx Wolfson/Getty Images

One half of the Final Four of the All-Time Favorite Cincinnati Bearcat Basketball Player Tournament has been decided and once again, Oscar Robertson came out on top. Facing off against Nick Van Exel, who won the Gale Catlett region, Robertson, the No. 1 seed in the Ed Jucker region, dominated the vote once again, earning 70.1 percent of the ballots cast. To his credit, Van Exel, the stellar star of those early 90s teams, including the 1992 Final Four squad, received more votes than any other opponent Robertson has faced to this point.

In honor of his ascension to the final of this little group experiment we’re conducting, here are 10 facts about Robertson’s career with the Bearcats.

  1. Robertson was so good in college that his number was retired at the conclusion of his career rather than years later. That is why no UC player has ever worn No. 12 since then. His was also the first number retired by the program.
  2. No player had ever been named a first-team All-American before Robertson was in 1958. He would earn the same honor in three-straight seasons by consensus, something that has not been matched since.
  3. When he was taken first overall in the NBA Draft by the Cincinnati Royals, he became the first Bearcat to be selected at that spot, but the second player taken in the first round in program history. Connie Dierking was chosen No. 6 overall by the Syracuse Nationals in 1958.
  4. Despite playing only three seasons and during the non-shot clock era, Robertson accumulated a program record 2,973 points in his career, averaging at least 32 points a game in each campaign he played.
  5. Robertson holds a number of program records beyond that scoring title, including the most rebounds in UC history (1,338). His 15.2 rebounds per game average is also a best among Bearcats.
  6. Although he was not a member of the 1961 and 1962 national championship teams, Robertson played plenty well in the NCAA Tournament, winning All-Regional MVP awards from 1958-1960.
  7. In a 1958 NCAA Tournament game against Arkansas, Robertson put on the best postseason scoring performance of his career, pouring in 56 points on 21-of-36 shooting. Those 56 points still stand as an individual NCAA Tournament record for the Bearcats.
  8. Known for his ability to record triple doubles in the NBA, Robertson started that tradition in college. His first came on Dec. 17, 1958 against Pacific when he tallied 39 points, 23 rebounds and 10 assists. It was one of 10 career triple-doubles for Robertson. There have only been five other triple doubles recorded by Bearcats.
  9. A 62-point effort by Robertson during the 1959-60 season against North Texas State stands as the most points scored in a game by a Bearcat ever. It was one of six games in which he scored at least 50 points.
  10. Robertson didn’t just score from the field, as he racked up quite a number of free throws in his day. Along with holding the program records for most foul shots made (869) and attempted (1,114), he is the only Bearcat to ever attempt more than 300 free throws in a season. He did it three times.

Robertson is obviously a completely deserving candidate to be voted Down the Drive’s favorite Bearcat basketball player of all time. We will find out who he will be paired up with in the championship round tomorrow.