UConn stuck in Connecticut ahead of Final Four due to plane issues

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Defending national champion UConn’s trip to a second consecutive Final Four is having a tough time getting off the ground.

The Huskies were still in Connecticut Wednesday night after the plane they were supposed to take to Arizona experienced mechanical issues getting to the East Coast, a person with the university who was supposed to be on the flight told The Associated Press. The flight was scheduled to leave at about 6 p.m. Eastern time.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the matter publicly. However, the travel problems were first reported to Matt Norlander of CBS Sports, who was told of the issue by coach Dan Hurley.

The Huskies were having a hard time finding a replacement flight because of bad weather on the East Coast and regulations involving rest for the flight crew, which would not allow the original crew to leave before 10 a.m. Thursday. The team’s earliest option to get to the Final Four would be via a smaller plane, but wouldn’t be able to take off until 12:45 a.m. ET on Thursday morning thus meaning it wouldn’t land until nearly 5 a.m. ET/2 a.m. PT, shared UConn with CBS Sports. That plane needs to be brought in from Cincinnati and would also require a fuel stop en route to Arizona.

The NCAA, which oversees and handles all travel for all teams in both the men’s and women’s NCAA Tournaments, shared further details.

Huskies are working on contingencies, but are not expected to leave for the Final Four before about 1 a.m. at the earliest, the university official said. Meanwhile, all three other teams touched down in Arizona. Alabama and Purdue got in Tuesday while NC State landed Wednesday afternoon. 

The delays could affect UConn’s media obligations on Thursday afternoon.

No. 1 seed UConn is scheduled to play fourth-seeded Alabama on Saturday night.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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