ARIZONA BASKETBALL

UConn plane troubles before Final Four land Huskies in Phoenix late

Apr 4, 2024, 8:37 AM

Dan Hurley, UConn head coach...

Head coach Dan Hurley of the UConn Huskies arrives at Jackson Jet Center in Phoenix, Arizona, on April 4, 2024, ahead of the 2024 Men's Final Four. (Photo by Tyler Schank/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

(Photo by Tyler Schank/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

STORRS, Conn. (AP) — Defending national champion UConn finally touched down in Arizona for the Final Four at 3:15 a.m. MST on Thursday after a long delay and a red-eye flight.

After the plane they were supposed to take around 6 p.m. EDT had mechanical issues getting to the East Coast, the Huskies took off in a smaller Allegiant Air plane from Bradley International Airport near Hartford at about 1:30 a.m. EDT for the flight to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

The Huskies posted a video on social media, showing the team finally disembarking in Arizona.

No. 1 seed UConn is scheduled to play fourth-seeded Alabama on Saturday night in the semifinals at State Farm Stadium in Glendale. The championship game is Monday night.

Alabama and Purdue arrived in Arizona on Tuesday night, and North Carolina State came in Wednesday afternoon.

The NCAA said in a statement that it worked with UConn and a charter company to develop several alternatives after the problem emerged with the original plane. The delayed flight was then supposed to take off at 11:30 p.m., but another mechanical issue, as well as bad weather in Connecticut, delayed the Huskies for another two hours, the NCAA said.

“We are very disappointed that UConn will arrive later than anticipated and it’s unfortunate the team’s travel experience has been impacted,” the NCAA said.

The Huskies had not been on a plane since after their March 6 game with Marquette, when they had to spend an extra day in Milwaukee because of a canceled flight. They took buses to the Big East Tournament and first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament, both in New York, and the East Regional in Boston.

The travel problems were first reported by CBS Sports, which was told of the issue by coach Dan Hurley.

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