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The All-Time Favorite Cincinnati Bearcat Basketball Player Tournament: Gale Catlett Region Final

Not all No. 1 seeds were built to make it to the Final Four.

Nick Van Exel

Oscar Robertson was voted in as the first candidate in the Final Four of the All-Time Favorite Cincinnati Bearcat Basketball Player Tournament, but he will need an opponent to vanquish (or be vanquished by) before he can make it to the final. In a search for the Lex Luthor to Robertson’s Superman (or vice versa depending on the outcome), Danny Fortson and Nick Van Exel scaled the mountain of the Gale Catlett region to contend for the second spot in the Final Four. Here are the results.

No. 2 Nick Van Exel defeats No. 1 Danny Fortson

From the beginning of this tournament, I said that Van Exel probably should have been the No. 1 seed in this region, but I let my own fanhood get in the way. Luckily I am not in total control of this series, with you the fans voting on your favorite players. Van Exel proved to be the favorite of this group of 16, besting Fortson by a count of 68.9 percent to 31.1 percent.

The 1992-93 team MVP, Van Exel is one of those rare standouts who doesn’t exactly stand out in the record books. A third-team All-American in 1993, Van Exel does hold the single game record for three-pointers made in a single NCAA Tournament game and game overall by a Bearcat and he was a single season leader in a number of categories. But, since he only played two seasons with the Bearcats, he didn’t have the chance to pile up the counting numbers to rival the likes of Robertson before him and Sean Kilpatrick after. But he ingrained himself in the memories of UC fans forever with his performances for the 1992 and 1993 teams, which had more NCAA Tournament success than any Bearcat teams save for the 1961 and 1962 national title squads. Here are some highlights to light the fire of nostalgia.

I’m not sure if Fortson would have gotten past Van Exel if he had also gotten to a Final Four, but the underappreciated star is fifth in all-time scoring at UC (despite playing only three seasons) and its not like the Bearcats did nothing in the postseason with him around considering they made the Elite Eight in 1996.

Now for an updated look at the bracket, which featured some heavy hitters, such as Cashmere Wright, Troy Caupain and Melvin Levett. Of course, Van Exel never really struggled on his path here, winning his first two matchups unanimously and the others by sizable margins as well.

Voting is now open in the first part of the Final Four, which pits No. 1 seed Robertson vs. No. 2 seed Van Exel. The second half of the semifinals will be revealed tomorrow.