NCAA Basketball Teams as ‘Game Of Thrones’ Characters

Once again, March brings with it the exciting return of a reason to watch TV. We’re talking, of course, about the bloody madness that is the rivalry for the crown. The big show, baby, pitting noble institutions against one anoth–wait, is this the March Madness article or the Game of Thrones article? Screw it, here are both. Your favorite characters as your most hated schools: 

Miami – Bronn


He even looks a little like Sebastian the Ibis

We look at it like this: if Bronn played college basketball, he’d be at Miami. He just would.

He likes f***ing. And drinking. And singing. But killing, killing is the thing he loves. In this way, he’s just like 3/4 of the major scholarship athletes currently enrolled at the U. Only smaller. And quicker.

Duke – Joffrey Baratheon


Everybody’s waiting for both to die.

Too easy.

Sense of entitlement? Check? Unlimited influence and power? Check. Guy forces prostitutes to beat up on each other instead of getting a rub & tug on his nameday? Check. Maybe if the Dukies ordered a couple of hookers, they’d actually intend to share a few happy endings, but since we don’t like Duke and this whole article is mostly biased, we keep our suspicions.

Michigan – Jorah Mormont

Disgraced, but suave

Disgraced, but suave.

“No one can survive in this world without help.”

They both got caught doing something wrong a long time ago, and paid a huge price for it. Michigan turned a blind eye to one of its boosters orchestrating a money-laundering scheme. Jorah sold slaves to a slave trader because his wife was a needy gold-digger.

Jorah went into self-imposed exile. Michigan went into metaphorical exile—they got slapped with probation. They’re each currently inching closer to returning to their former glory. Jorah as a lord of Westeros. Michigan as a perennial powerhouse.

Indiana – Tywin Lannister

A right bastard, but a principled bastard.

A right bastard, but a principled bastard.

“It’s the family name that lives on. That’s all that lives on. Not your glory, not your personal honor, but family.”

As one of college basketball’s charter bluebloods, and Westeros’ warden of the West, nobody is as committed as these two to their own legacies–even if they’ll gamble that entire legacy to secure the throne.

Florida – Jaime Lannister

So roundly talented you almost don't notice what a disappointment they are.

So roundly talented you almost don’t notice what a disappointment they are.

“Three victories don’t make you a conquerer.”

What have you done for me lately?

That’s the question that comes to mind when you think about these two. Six years ago, Florida repeated as national champions and looked like college basketball’s newest powerhouse. Now, they can’t for the life of them make it past the Sweet 16.  Jaime Lannister was the youngest Kingsguard knight in history. Now, he’s Brienne of Tarth’s bitch.

Michigan State – Tyrion Lannister

But for some stupid reason the NCAA forbids the use of wildfire.

But for some stupid reason the NCAA forbids the use of wildfire.

“Those are brave men knocking at our door. Let’s go kill them all!”

Just the fact that Tom Izzo is nearly identical in height to Westeros’s famous “imp”  almost itself makes this a match made in heaven. But we’ll further point to their shared title as the underdog you can’t ever count out.

Not in the NCAA tourney—where the Spartans have been to more Final Fours since 2001 than any other school. And damn sure not at the Battle of Blackwater Bay—where Tyrion totally killed a dude who was not a midget.

Kansas – Stannis Baratheon

Also, even their supporters have to admit they're kind of joyless.

Also, even their supporters have to admit they’re grim bastards.

“You talk about war as if you understand it.”

Basketball is funny, sometimes. Sports are funny, sometimes. Nobody gave Kansas much of a chance to be an elite team this year after losing Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor to the draft. But looky here, they’re one of the top seeds entering the tournament.

Like Kansas, Stannis lost a helluva lot last year, losing Blackwater Bay & whatnot. He’s got a whole army to replace if he’s still serious about taking the iron throne. But like Kansas, we have a gut feeling he can still somehow pull it off.

Gonzaga – Daenerys Targaryen

People really need to think it through before they come at this one.

People really need to think it through before challenging them.

“And what of my magic?”

These two are perennial x-factors. Nobody can quite put a finger on how dangerous they are, because nobody of importance has ever seen them. Daenarys is all the way across the narrow sea in Essos, trying to raise an army and take back the iron throne for the House Targaryen. Gonzaga is all the way up in the far Northwest time zone where ESPN dare not venture, trying to finally crack the Elite Eight.

Syracuse – Petyr Baelish

And for all that success, nobody really respects them.

And for all that success, few really respect them.

“A stupid saying—what we don’t know is usually what gets us killed.”

Baelish is known far and wide in Westeros as a master manipulator. Syracuse is also a master manipulator of sorts. They start every season 15-0, and masterfully manipulate the associated press and general public into thinking they’re a legit Final Four contender. Then conference play starts, they finish the rest of the season .500, and we’re all dumber now for having seen it.

Louisville – Theon Greyjoy

Big dreams, small plans.

Big dreams, small plans.

“Girls will think of us with their lovers inside them!”

In fairness to Louisville, they have a FAR greater track record of not being a total f**k-up than Theon. But even when you think you know him, you can’t leave Theon alone with your castle, and you certainly can’t leave Pitino alone with your wife. And that’s where the real connection lies.

The NCAA only wishes it had rivalries like this

The NCAA only wishes it had rivalries like this

Will Kriegshauser is a writer whose mom and editors are proud of him. You can find more of his work on The Smoking JacketFunnyCraveCracked, or just reach him at

You can't help but love these guys.

You can’t help but love these guys.

More from Will Kriegshauser

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