UConn's final four men face long travel delays, arriving in Phoenix in the early hours of the morning

The UConn men's basketball team has arrived The last four With four one-sided victories in the Eastern Region. But qualifying is one thing; Get Phoenix's task was not easy.

The Huskies, who have suffered a series of travel nightmares, were stuck on campus waiting for a 5 1/2-hour delay on their flight to Arizona on Wednesday night before a plane was made available. Once on board, they were delayed another two hours, due to minor mechanical problems and the need to de-ice the plane, and finally took off just after 1:30 a.m. Thursday. The plane finally touched down in Phoenix at 3:14 a.m. PT, 6:14 a.m. ET. It is likely that their practice and press conference schedule will have to be adjusted, and they will lose time to adjust to the time difference.

The Huskies play Alabama at 8:49 PM on Saturday at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

The NCAA is handling travel arrangements for the tournament.

“Due to mechanical issues with the original aircraft,” read a statement released by the NCAA at 9 p.m. Wednesday, “the UConn men’s basketball team is experiencing a delay and is now expected to depart at approximately 11:30 p.m. ET. In cooperation with the schools And charter airlines, the NCAA has been developing several options for travel alternatives to Phoenix. We are very disappointed that UConn will arrive later than expected and it is unfortunate that the team's travel experience has been affected.

The other semifinalists, Alabama, NC State and Purdue, were all on the field in Phoenix earlier Wednesday. The Huskies, after their late afternoon farewell, went to a team dinner with plans to take off from Bradley at 6 p.m. The plane carrying them was from Kansas City, as first reported by Matt Norlander of CBSSports.com, But logistical and mechanical problems with the plane kept it grounded there. The flight crew has exceeded the permitted working hours.

A smaller aircraft was considered, which would have required a refueling stop. Or if they wait for a plane from Kansas City, they won't be able to leave until 10 a.m. Thursday. Red Eye Road has been settled.

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“The delays were the result of an unfortunate set of circumstances,” the NCAA said in a statement after the Huskies landed safely.

Last year in the Western Conference, the team found its groove Hotel arrangements in Las Vegas are inadequate He had to move while stretching. During the final week of the regular season, UConn's travel team was stranded in Milwaukee due to plane problems after playing Marquette, with a quick turnaround before playing at Providence.

None of these previous issues, of course, affected UConn's performance on the field. The Huskies, ranked No. 1 overall in the field of 68, played their first and second round games in Brooklyn, and their Sweet 16 and Elite 8 games in Boston, both within driving distance.

Last year, the Huskies were flown to the Final Four in Houston on a plane Plane owned by the Patriots. A school spokesman said that was not an option this time, because… The Patriots have since terminated their agreement With Eastern Airlines.

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