With COVID-19 crushing everyone’s March Madness vibe, we at B5Q crafted our own tournament to determine which basketball player from the past 20 years was the biggest fan favorite.
With two rounds in the books, we now enter crunch time. It’s the Sweet 16 baby.
For the Sweet 16, we will be dropping two pairings from a singular region each day in separate articles. We at B5Q will state the case for each player, and it is up to you the fans to vote and ultimately decide who moves on and who is eliminated.
First, we turn our attention to the South Region. Just like the first two rounds, the voting window closes at midnight each day, so get those votes in quick.
You can check out the players still vying for the title in the complete bracket...Bucky's Fan Favorite Tournament Bracket.pdf.
The first matchup in the East Region Sweet 16 is between No. 2 seed and consummate point guard Jordan Taylor as well as No. 3 and Final Four hero Mike Kelley.
Kelley was one of the best defensive guards that Wisconsin has ever seen. During the 2000 Final Four run he had 19 steals in the Tournament. He also had an assist-to-turnover ratio of 23-4, and three of those turnovers came in one game! He has the top assist-to-turnover ratio in Wisconsin history (both career and single-season). He was the 1998-99 B1G Defensive Player of the Year and his 275 steals over his career are still a school record (and fourth in B1G history).
While he also wasn’t scoring for that Final Four team, he was almost definitely the one passing it to the guy who scored. Kelley set a B1G record by having 10 steals in one game and is probably so annoying to play pickup against (which is a compliment btw).
He also did the Bud Light “wazzzzzzup” thing at Camp Randall.
23. The scene in Madison celebrating the 2000 Final Four was special— Wisconsin Basketball (@BadgerMBB) March 28, 2020
Fresh off beating Purdue, the Badgers returned home for a celebration event at Camp Randall. Despite arriving after midnight Sunday, thousands of fans were there waiting.
Were you there with us?#FieldOf68 pic.twitter.com/mJ3t5ys2OO
That’s GOT to be worth a few extra votes.
There are certain players who you remember specific plays for and Jordan Taylor is one of those players. At one point, my Facebook profile picture was of Taylor blocking Kansas State’s Jacob Pullen’s shot in the NCAA Tournament to secure a win. God, what a sweet picture that was.
Anyway, Taylor was the consummate point guard for the Badgers during his career. Did you know that he turned the ball over just 79 TOTAL times in 71 career Big Ten games? And that his 3.01 career assist-to-turnover ratio shattered the NCAA record (2.70 - Julyan Stone, UTEP, 2008-11)? And that his 3.83 assist-to-turnover ratio in 2010-11 led the nation and was the 4th-highest mark in NCAA history?
Taylor also made the all-B1G first team twice and was a national All-American in 2011. During his senior season he averaged 18.1 ppg (20.1 in just B1G games). During his junior season he was second in the whole nation in turnover percentage and he also shot 42.9% from three on 175 attempts.
In the three seasons where he played more the 70% of the teams’ minutes he was in the top-200 for assist rate and top-100 for turnover rate each year. This was all happening while his usage was high too.
(3) Mike Kelley or (2) Jordan Taylor
This poll is closed
(3) Mike Kelley
(2) Jordan Taylor