Inside Sports for Wednesday — March 15, 2006

Who cares about the rain. As long as my TV is set to KGMB-9, with my bracket in hand, I’ll be happy.

Let it all come down. I don’t care because the best place to be starting Thursday is inside and tuned into TV with your favorite munchies and beverage at your disposal.

It’s March Madness — arguably the best time of the year for most sports fans.

Thursday signals the start of the best tournament in the world. And although the University of Hawai’i basketball team is no-where to be found, it’s still going to be a treat for islanders, who are used to filling out brackets without the Rainbow Warriors in the mix.

However, my team, the Arizona Wildcats are back again for the 22nd consecutive time.

This year, they match up against a tough Wisconsin squad.

The Wildcats aren’t as strong as in past years, but they are dangerous and should get past the Badgers in round one on Friday.

Fellow Kauaians Paul Jonas, Missy Cox, Cory Morishita, Stacey Mckee and Ashley Nagaoka will be cheering as hard as I am for Arizona.

Jonas, a Po’ipu resident, met his wife at the University of Arizona and he was quick to point out that the Wildcat hat I wore on Saturday at the Jr. Golf clinic hit the spot.

He mentioned that he’s been looking for a ‘Zona hat for awhile (I’ll keep my eyes open for another hat, Paul), but so far no luck.

I found my Wildcat hat at a Champs Sports store on O’ahu.

Cox, who’s finishing up her Ph.D. in engineering at Arizona, was kind enough to send me a Wildcat shirt last year.

Another Kaua’i High School graduate, Nagaoka, is also a Wildcat and she’s currently doing her internship at KGUN-TV in Tucson, with hopes of becoming a news anchor/reporter.

Morishita, a Wildcat alum and current Kaua’i High School assistant volleyball coach, used to play volleyball for the Arizona men’s club team.

And Mckee, a recent hire at The Garden Island, is from Tucson, where the Wildcats roam.

We’ll all be at different spots cheering for the Cats, but it’s good to know that I’m not the only one who wants to see them go all the way, just like they did back in 1997.

However, in that year, Arizona had a solid team, led by three NBA-bound players in Miles Simon, Mike Bibby, and Mike Dickerson.

This year’s squad is rail-thin, especially with the loss of sharp-shooter and high flyer, Hassan Adams. So I’m going with another mammal to win it all in the Connecticut Huskies.

But whoever comes out on top, it’s the upsets that make the tournament as special as it is.

And my upset special is No. 12 seed Utah State over No. 5 seed Washington in the Washington, D.C., bracket (sorry Todd).

I’m as sure as another day of rain on the island that there’ll be more than a handful of upsets in this year’s tournament.

So let the “Madness” begin because nothing will stop it — not even the rain!

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