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.
In the third matchup of the Elite 8, we turn our attention to the South 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.
Two of the best players to ever don the cardinal and white face-off in an Elite 8 matchup with Final Four implications, as No. 1 seed Devin Harris takes on No. 2 seed Brian Butch.
The case for Devin Harris:
While Wauwatosa native Devin Harris only spent three seasons at Wisconsin, he was still a part of three championship teams. Harris and the Badgers won the 2002 and 2003 B1G regular season championship, as well as the 2004 B1G Tournament. Harris was the 2004 B1G Player of the Year and a B1G Tournament Most Outstanding Player and was also a Wooden Award All-American that season.
During Harris’ sophomore season, Wisconsin won the B1G title outright, for the first time since 1947. In the title-clinching victory over No. 14 Illinois Harris won the game, hitting a free throw with four-tenths of a second left.
Harris appeared in three NCAA Tournaments, reaching the Sweet 16 as a sophomore, while losing in the second round the other two seasons.
For his career Harris averaged 14.8 points, four rebounds, three assists and shot 45 percent from the field in 96 contests.
The case for Brian Butch:
A high school Parade All-American, and McDonald All-American as a prep standout from Appleton, Brian Butch played all four seasons at Wisconsin.
A three-year starter, Butch was a prototypical big man for the Badgers from 2004 to 2008, and demonstrated the ability to play inside out as many Wisconsin bigs have done.
For his career, Butch averaged nine points, and 5.4 rebounds per game. After a brief stint in the NBA, he played overseas for a few years before coaching the G-League Wisconsin Herd. He is now a color commentator for various basketball productions in the Midwest area.
Butch is also a part of one of the greatest “what ifs” in Wisconsin basketball history. If he didn’t suffer a dislocated and fractured elbow against Ohio State at the end of February in 2007 how far could the Badgers have gone that season? Entering that game they were 26-3 and if they beat the Buckeyes (who they ended up losing to by one point) they would have been in the driver’s seat for the B1G title and No. 1 seed in the conference tournament, and probably the NCAA Tournament.
Instead, they lost to OSU in that game, lost to them again in the B1G Tournament title game and flamed out in the second round of the NCAA Tournament to a UNLV team led by grad transfer Kevin Kruger’s hot three point shooting. A Sweet 16 matchup with Oregon would’ve been tough, but winnable, and then a powerhouse Florida team would’ve been there in the Elite 8 but still...you always wonder what if.
Butch lived in Ogg Hall East Tower (the superior tower, as everyone knows) with me during his freshman year and I think it is important to note that one time I arrived at the elevator bank after attending class (a rarity!) and he was already standing there, by himself. As I approached I noticed that the up button hadn’t been pushed yet. I stood next to Butch, looked up at him, back at the button, back at him and then slowly reached out to push the button so we could go to our respective rooms.
If I hadn’t of arrived would Butch still be standing there, forlornly waiting for an elevator that was never going to come because he didn’t build up the courage to call it? Reader, I do not know, but I am happy to say I helped him in his time of need.
Another time, on a particularly cold day in Madison, Butch was standing at the elevator bank again and looked at me, who he did not know, and said “shit, could it get any more colder out, I mean damn!” It is something my friends and I still say when it is cold out and for that I would personally like to thank Brian Butch for this gift.
(1) Devin Harris or (2) Brian Butch
This poll is closed
(1) Devin Harris
(2) Brian Butch