Plane issues delay UConn men's arrival in Arizona

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The UConn men’s basketball team left for the Final Four in Arizona early Thursday after a confluence of issues delayed its trip out of Connecticut.

The Huskies finally took off from Bradley International Airport near Hartford at about 1:30 a.m. ET. UConn’s flight was originally scheduled to leave at about 6 p.m. Wednesday, but the team’s departure was pushed to about 11:30 p.m. because of mechanical issues, the NCAA said in a statement. Coach Dan Hurley took to social media around 1 a.m. to say the plane had not yet taken off.

The mechanical issues led to crew staffing issues, sources told ESPN’s Pete Thamel. Also, the mechanical issues made it difficult to secure a plane large enough to accommodate the team’s travel party, sources said.

The team expected to break up its party to bring people to the Final Four on later flights, with players and coaches taking priority to arrive first, sources told Thamel.

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

After the five-hour flight, the team was expected to arrive at Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix at about 3:30 a.m. PT.

“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.

Along with NC State, Purdue and Alabama, UConn is scheduled to have media availability, practice and other obligations in Glendale, Arizona, on Thursday. The NCAA is expected to explore a modification of UConn’s schedule to factor in the team’s late arrival, sources told Thamel.

CBS Sports first reported on UConn’s travel delay.

The Huskies are attempting to become the first program to win back-to-back national titles since Florida in 2006 and 2007.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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