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Bucky’s Fan Favorite Tournament Elite 8: (1) Ethan Happ vs. (3) Nigel Hayes

Elite 8 time is upon us! Read up on the two contenders and vote to help determine who moves on, and who goes home.

Prairie View A&M v Wisconsin Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

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 three rounds in the books, we are down to only eight former players still alive. It’s Elite 8 time!

For the Elite 8, we will be dropping one matchup each day, as the decisions become harder. 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 Midwest Region. Just like the first three 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.

With a berth in the Final Four up for grabs, a pair of former teammates, No. 1 seed Ethan Happ, and No. 3 seed Nigel Hayes showdown.

NCAA Basketball Tournament - East Regional - New York Photo by Ben Solomon/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

The case for Ethan Happ:

Ethan Happ is one of the more decorated players in program history. The do it all forward was a force in the post, and was a very versatile play-maker for Wisconsin.

For his career he averaged 15.3 points per game, 8.8 rebounds and three assists per game. Happ finished his time at UW ranking third in points scored, first in rebounds, third in assists, first in blocks, second in steals and first in field goals made in program history.

Happ was a three-time first-team All-American and is one of only six players in NCAA history to record over 2000 points, 1000 rebounds, 400 assists.

During a window in time where the Badgers were transitioning from the players who helped lead the team to consecutive Final Four appearances, to the current iteration of the Badgers under Greg Gard, Happ was the consummate leader.

Happ led the team in points, rebounds, assists, and steals per game for large chunks of his career in Madison, and was a big reason for the team staying afloat through some weaker recruiting classes.

Ethan Happ was a legitimate two-way player for the Badgers on each end of the court, and statistically speaking is one of the more well rounded players in program history.

Big Ten Basketball Tournament - Championship Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

The case for Nigel Hayes:

One of the better forwards in program history, Nigel Hayes was a four year impact player for the Wisconsin Badgers.

Part of the back-to-back Final Four runs, Hayes was an integral part of the teams success from 2013 to 2017 thanks to his versatile skill set on the offensive end.

Hayes won the Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year award in 2014 as a freshman, before becoming a full-time starter for the following three seasons in Madison.

Hayes earned All-Conference honors each season on campus, averaging 12.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game in his career.

A smart and funny presence, Hayes contributed to collegiate athletics beyond the court as well. He was outspoken about issues surrounding the lives of athletes and racial justice during his time in Madison to boot.

Nigel is also one of the most beloved players in the past decade for his likeable attitude that accompanied his stellar play. Particularly he was known for some post game fun, including the epic stenographer chat had in the NCAA Tournament interview sessions early in his career.


(1) Ethan Happ or (3) Nigel Hayes?

This poll is closed

  • 31%
    (1) Ethan Happ
    (237 votes)
  • 68%
    (3) Nigel Hayes
    (518 votes)
755 votes total Vote Now