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Wildcats troubled by travel

Arizona arrived in Birmingham for the Southeast Regional five hours late Thursday after the jet the team chartered to bring it from Tuscon was delayed by mechanical problems and a noise ordinance.

The Wildcats arrived at the airport for the 7 a.m. MST flight, only to discover their plane was still in Vancouver.

The plane arrived late in Canada the night before after being delayed in Denver by mechanical problems. A noise ordinance in Vancouver prevented the plane from taking off until Thursday morning.

The jet finally arrived in Tuscon about 11 a.m. Thursday and it took an hour to ready the plane for the flight to Alabama.

The Wildcats play Kansas in the semifinals tonight.

Tennessee-Chattanooga, which plays Providence in the other semifinal, changed its nickname Feb. 10. The school traded in its Chief Moccanooga mascot for a Mockingbird engineering a Chattanooga Choo Choo, and changed its nickname from the Moccasins to the Mocs.

East Regional

California coach Ben Braun said he never was concerned about replacing Ed Gray's points after the country's No. 2 scorer was lost with a broken foot in the last regular-season game.

"You don't have to motivate players to score," he said. "That isn't the same with rebounding and defense. Players can always find a way to score. That's my personal philosophy and the players have responded to that."

The Golden Bears play North Carolina in the semis tonight at Syracuse.


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