Riptide's Guide on Who to Hate During Miami's March Madness

By now you've seen the brackets so many times you know North Dakota State's mascot by heart and you'll break down in tears if another person mentions President Obama's picks.

But are you really ready for Miami's first-round matchups tomorrow at the AA Arena? More important, do you know whom to mercilessly scream obscenities at every time they touch the hardwood?

Well, fear not -- here at Riptide, we're ready to chug some haterade on your behalf. Read Riptide tomorrow for a live courtside blog of the Syracuse-Steven F. Austin game at noon and updates on the tournament scene throughout the day, and remember where to aim those rotten tomatoes: 

Eric Devendorf: As detailed in a beautiful take-down on Slate this week, there's a lot not to like about Syracuse's thugged-out white-guy guard. He's got a habit of trash-talking everyone on the floor even though his best skill is knocking down open jumpers created by legitamately badass teammate Johnny Flynn. And when he's not acting like a jerk on court, he's punching women in the face and avoiding suspensions from the team. You stay classy, Devendorf. We'll root for the underdogs -- the awesomely named Lumberjacks of Steven F. Austin University, who take on Syracuse in Miami's first game at noon tomorrow.

The University of Arizona Wildcats: We've already detailed our not-so-enthusiastic feelings about Arizona's at-large bid to the tournament, but let's recap: didn't win 20 games; finished the season in a tailspin, losing five of six (including an absolute blowout in the Pac-10 tournament); finished .500 in a mediocre-ass conference; and somehow got the nod to dance over much more deserving mid-majors such as St. Mary's and Creighton. To top it off, their opponent (at 7:10 p.m. tomorrow) is the higher-seeded but still scrappy underdog from a mid-major conference: Utah Utes. We'll be wearing our vintage Keith Van Horn jerseys for this one. 

Wake Forest: OK, compared to the first two picks, there's nothing particularly odious about this year's Demon Deacons. But remember the Dekes rose all the way to a No. 1 national ranking in January beforing stumbling to an 11-5 finish in the ACC and a four-seed to the Big Dance.  Wouldn't you rather back the 13-seeded Vikings of Cleveland State, which not only are making just their second tourney appearance, but also shocked Syracuse and major-league jerk store Eric Devendorf in December with a 72-69, three-quarters-court shot at the buzzer win? Go, Vikes!

Check out the full Miami schedule of games here, and don't forget to read Riptide tomorrow for some live blogging of the first-round matchups.

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