Harry Potter, also known as Carolina, is the powerhouse of this tournament. Harry stumbles along his journey to defeat the Dark Lord, (loses to Northern Iowa, Duke, Notre Dame, Louisville, and Texas) but never ceases to disappoint. Harry consistently proves to his enemy, and the Wizarding world, that he is in fact the chosen one. Hicks, Berry and Jackson have all stepped up to show the depth and character of this team extends further than stars Marcus Paige and Brice Johnson. With guidance from the all-wise coach Roy Williams, Carolina has the talent and character of Harry Potter. This is a team every can admire and demands respect, sounds a lot like Harry Potter huh?
Hermione Granger, the Xavier Musketeers, is the brain of the group. Hermione makes a complex task simple and frankly so do the Musketeers. Xavier scores majority of its points in the paint, get to the line (and capitalize) and consistently out-rebound opponents. Hermione’s talent is never undervalued or underestimated without serious consequence, just ask Villanova about that. While Hermione is smart, well-rounded and balanced, she will never out do Harry, or the all powerful Voldemort, she simply aids in Voldemort’s downfall. Xavier will have wins and reach the Elite 8, but if confronted with Carolina, will falter.
The lovable Hagrid, also known as Vanderbilt, is someone we always like to see do well, but when he falls, we are not too surprised. Vanderbilt has to win its way in, and that they will do. Hagrid is a delight, who wows us with his lovable talents. Vanderbilt, like Hagrid, has wonderful shooters in Fisher-Davis and Jones, but just as Hagrid has trouble controlling his Magical Creature’s class, Vanderbilt has trouble closing games. With some serious effort and determination this Vanderbilt team can tame the monsters in the Southern bracket.
Who can forget Neville Longbottom in the Sorcerer’s Stone where he stands up against Harry, Ron and Hermionie and earns the final five points for Gryffindor to win the House Cup? Well our Neville Longbottom, is CSU Bakersfield. CSU Bakersfield won their way into the tournament; they lack height but not might. Neville Longbottom is the character that steals the audience’s affection through his awkward success. CSUB is the true Cinderella team, the unnoticed, the underappreciated, but full of potential. While we won’t see a 2013-FGCU-like run from CSUB, they will give Oklahoma one hell of a game and represent all the overlooked, awkward, nerdy wizards of the world. Oh Neville.
Malfoy, Draco Malfoy. Oh who does not know this character? Draco Malfoy is the stuck up, entitled, annoying, and unfortunately talented wizard we all hate. Well who other than the Duke Blue Devils to represent Draco Malfoy? Grayson Allen is the wicked good, dirty player that frustrates everyone, except for Duke’s fans. Alongside breakout stars Luke Kennard and Brandon Ingram, the Blue Devils have taken down opponents in attempt to defend their national title. But when truly challenged, like against the Harry Potter Carolina, or a Ravenclaw-like Notre Dame, Duke has fallen pathetically. Remember Draco as Slytherin’s seeker? Classic Duke.
In honor of Alan Rickman’s passing, it’s only natural that we recognize Severus Snape. Severus is a character that is hidden to everyone else. Severus is brilliant, but misunderstood to almost everyone. No surprise then allowing Saint Joseph’s to represent Snape. The Hawks have beaten ranked teams all year, won the A-10 tournament and found much needed support in Miles, Kimble and Demery. Forward DeAndré Bembry has yet again had an All-American Season, and with his support system, his talent is finally being acknowledged, respected and understood. Snape had a rough upbringing, rather fitting for Saint Joseph’s, a team that struggled and once given the chance shines and proves to be a spectacular well-rounded, yet struggling (on the free throw line) team. Snape never stops fighting, just like The Hawk Will Never Die.
Albus Dumbledore, the figurehead of the Wizarding World, is most seen in Oklahoma. Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield, like Dumbledore, controls the college basketball world. Hield is unstoppable; he can shoot, he can drive, he can play lockdown defense and he hits incredible half court shots against West Virginia. Oklahoma is a team that is strong in every aspect of the game, making them an extremely difficult matchup. With Cousins, Woodard and Hield, the Sooners have all the Albus wisdom and the elder wand. However even Albus cannot defeat the Dark Lord, only Harry Potter is capable of triumph and therefore the Sooners will only go so far (Final Four) in the tournament.
Last, and definitely not least, the Dark Lord himself, otherwise referred to as the Michigan State Spartans. The Spartans, led by Denzel Valentine and Tom Izzo, are out to assert their dominance over the college basketball world. After being robbed of a No. 1 seed by the selection committee, the Spartans are out to crush all who lie in their path. The Spartans shoot exceptionally well from the floor and dominate on the boards. This team has very few weaknesses, but even the best of teams fall short. Let’s remember the last time Michigan State was No. 2 and Carolina was No. 1 the Spartans fell by double digits in the Championship. Voldemort is all-powerful, but only a team equally as powerful and with more heart can defeat him, the Harry Potter-esque Carolina.
Ah the Wizarding World is wonderful. Let us mere muggles sit back and watch in awe of the witches and wizards that do what we all wish we could. Happy March Madness and good luck with the each and every bracket!
By Elizabeth Bloom
Follow her at @sLiiZaRdLemon