UConn finally arrives in Arizona for Final Four after plane nightmare

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

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

No. 1 seed UConn is scheduled to face fourth-seeded Alabama Saturday night in the semifinals at State Farm Stadium in Glendale. The championship game will take place Monday evening.

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

Members of the UConn men’s basketball team can be seen exiting the plane after landing in Arizona. @UConnMBB/X
The team landed at 3:15 a.m. MST on Thursday after a long delay and a red-eye flight. @UConnMBB/X

The NCAA said in a statement that it worked with UConn and a charter company to develop several alternatives.

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

UConn had been plagued by travel issues after the plane the team was supposed to depart on had mechanical problems getting to the East Coast. @UConnMBB/X
UConn head coach Dan Hurley celebrates the Huskies’ berth in the Final Four on March 30, 2024. Getty Images

The Huskies hadn’t been on a plane since right after their March 6 game against Marquette, when they had to spend an extra day in Milwaukee due to a canceled flight.

They took buses to the Big East Tournament and the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament, both in New York, and the East Regional in Boston.

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

New York Post

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