clear
Wednesday October 18th, 2017 6:17PM

Winter storm forces basketball teams to alter travel plans

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Mother Nature is causing college basketball teams to alter their travel plans.

Teams chasing a college basketball title are contending with an unexpected wrinkle that's making last-minute travel plans difficult — a fierce storm bearing down on the Northeast that's expected to dump up to two feet of snow in some places and create blizzard-like conditions.

"We are closely tracking the weather and working with our travel partners and teams in the tournament to ensure the safety of our student-athletes, coaches, administrators, officials and fans," the NCAA said in a statement. "This includes looking at departure times for teams that will play in affected cities."

Villanova, the top overall seed in the men's NCAA Tournament, left Philadelphia on Monday afternoon for Buffalo, New York, to get ahead of a storm that's projected to last three days. The defending champion Wildcats, who play on Thursday, had an abbreviated press availability with coach Jay Wright, but no player interviews were granted as the team rushed to its flight.

"I'm not really looking forward to leaving right away. But it hits you with reality, you're in it," Wright said. "We're going to be in Buffalo tonight and we're playing and it's on."

There is less of a chance that the women's tournament would be affected. UConn is the only team in the Northeast hosting and they play Saturday morning giving teams more time to arrive in Connecticut.

U.S. airlines canceled thousands of flights for Monday and Tuesday in anticipation of the storm. Teams in the men's and women's NCAA Tournaments have chartered flights so any travel backlog on commercial planes caused by the storm shouldn't be a problem.

Nobody was facing a more difficult week than Princeton, a school new to the scramble.

The Tigers beat Yale on Sunday for the title in the first Ivy League Tournament, where in previous years they would have clinched earlier by being unbeaten in the regular season.

The victory allowed for a brief celebration and not much more for Chris Mongilia, director of basketball operations for the Tigers.

"I kind of enjoyed it for a minute, and then my phone started ringing and emails started firing out, trying to figure out when we were going," Mongilia said Monday. "We found out our flight time this morning. We've been booking buses and hotels. It's been putting a lot of pressure on us to get everything done and organized. But yeah, it's been crazy."

Crazier still, the school is factoring in midterms for several players this week, squeezing them in before the team plays Notre Dame on Thursday in Buffalo. The team took a chartered flight Monday evening.

"A lot of our guys are going to have to take exams proctored by a professor who is going to have to travel with us," Mongilia said. "They are going to have to take them in a conference room up at the hotel in Buffalo. The storm has definitely put a few bumps in our travel plans."

The Princeton women's team is playing in the WNIT and the tournament decided to have the 10 teams in the Northeast play their games on Friday to avoid the storm and lessen the risk of travel issues.

Providence was leaving Monday evening for Dayton, Ohio, for its Wednesday night matchup against Southern California in the First Four, and the Friars had no worries about cancellations because it takes charter flights for away games and can avoid the local airport, athletic director Bob Driscoll said.

"It's good we're getting out tonight because the snowstorm is coming tomorrow. It'll be a different story," Driscoll said. "People are excited to be in, so we're locked and loaded and ready to leave. We've been working on it all night and all morning."

The winter storm had already begun strafing the Midwest and was projected to begin sweeping through the New York region Monday night. Forecasters said it could dump up to two feet of snow across parts of New York and New Jersey. The National Weather Service issued blizzard watches for New York City and nearby areas, including Connecticut. The storm is expected to last into Wednesday in western New York with as much as 18 inches of snow.

For the NIT, Ole Miss was taking a charter flight on Monday for its Tuesday game at Monmouth in New Jersey. School officials said the storm pushed the travel timeline up a few hours.

West Virginia coach Bob Huggins was delayed getting on the Big 12 coaches weekly media call Monday because he was in a meeting with school officials to discuss the Mountaineers' travel plans to Buffalo.

"Yeah, we are concerned," Huggins said.

The school later announced it would take a bus more than 280 miles north to Buffalo on Monday night rather than leaving on Tuesday. West Virginia plays Thursday afternoon against Bucknell.

Virginia Tech also opted to leave after classes Monday, a day earlier than normal. The Hokies were to take a bus to Roanoke and fly to Buffalo before their game Thursday night against Wisconsin.

Airport officials in Buffalo said they would be able to handle the conditions.

"We're always ready to do our best," said Douglas Hartmayer, spokesman for the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, which oversees the Buffalo-Niagara Airport. "We have a history of being prepared and keeping those runways open and safe."

Syracuse also is in the storm's path, predicted to receive more than one foot of snow, but the Orange aren't going anywhere. Syracuse hosts UNC-Greensboro in a first-round game in the NIT on Tuesday night. The visit from the Spartans comes after Orange coach Jim Boeheim said there was "no value" in the Atlantic Coast Conference holding its postseason tournament in Greensboro.

____

AP Sports Writers Tom Canavan in New Jersey, John Raby in West Virginia, Hank Kurz in Virginia, David Brandt in Mississippi, Doug Feinberg and Brian Mahoney in New York, Dan Gelston in Philadelphia, and John Wawrow in Buffalo contributed to this report.

___

For more AP college basketball coverage: http://collegebasketball.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP_Top25

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Basketball, AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, College Sports, AP Business, AP Sports - Men's College Basketball, AP Sports - Women's College Basketball
© Copyright 2017 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
The Latest: About $4 million raised for London fire victims
More than 3 million pounds ($3.8 million) has been raised for victims of the London high-rise fire that has killed at least 30 people and left dozens homeless
2:54AM ( 25 minutes ago )
Search on for 7 Navy crew after ship damaged in collision
Crew from destroyer USS Dewey go to aid of Navy ship damaged in collision with a container vessel that left seven missing
2:46AM ( 33 minutes ago )
LEADING OFF: Surging Moustakas on pace for career season
LEADING OFF: Surging Moustakas on pace for career season for Kansas City, Porcello hopes to turn year around, Milwaukee's Anderson an ace, Tanaka's mysterious season continues
2:41AM ( 38 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
The top 3 miss US Open cut, leaving 4-way tie for the lead
The biggest surprise at this U.S. Open was not who was leading, but who was leaving
9:43PM ( 5 hours ago )
The Latest: Matsuyama, Reavie shoot 65
Hideki Matsuyama, Chez Reavie dazzle with second-round 65s at US Open
8:02PM ( 7 hours ago )
Still going strong at 41, Johnson agrees to 3-year extension
At 41, Jimmie Johnson still has the drive; agrees to 3-year extension with Hendrick
7:28PM ( 7 hours ago )
AP Sports
Apologies demanded from Steve Harvey after Flint comment
Apologies are being demanded from comedian Steve Harvey following comments reportedly made about Flint's lead-tainted water crisis
2:13PM ( 13 hours ago )
Kelsey Plum returns to Seattle after rough start as a pro
Kelsey Plum is returning to her college town this weekend when the WNBA's Seattle Storm host the San Antonio Stars
1:37PM ( 13 hours ago )
10 Things to Know for Today
Among 10 Things to Know: US to send some 4,000 more troops to Afghanistan; What Trump calls Russia probe.
6:30AM ( 20 hours ago )
AP Online Basketball
Latest: Police confront protesters blocking St. Paul freeway
Police in St. Paul, Minnesota, confront protesters who block downtown freeway after officer's acquittal in Philando Castile shooting death
12:21AM ( 2 hours ago )
Tennessee man: Fugitive inmates surrendered without a word
The man credited by law enforcement with holding two Georgia prison escapees at gunpoint says he's no hero
12:13AM ( 3 hours ago )
Protesters snarl Minnesota freeway after officer acquittal
A protest of the acquittal of a Minnesota police officer in the death of a black motorist has grown to thousands in St. Paul, and some demonstrators have blocked a downtown freeway
11:48PM ( 3 hours ago )
AP National News
Latest: Castile verdict protesters block I-94 in St. Paul
People protesting acquittal of Minnesota police officer in Philando Castile shooting shut down a freeway in St. Paul.
11:42PM ( 3 hours ago )
Director John Avildsen dies at 81; won Oscar for 'Rocky'
John G. Avildsen, who directed underdog classics 'Rocky' and 'The Karate Kid,' has died at age 81
11:24PM ( 3 hours ago )
Latest: Protest against Castile verdict grows in Minnesota
Thousands of chanting demonstrators continue march toward St. Paul Cathedral to protest police officer's acquittal in shooting of Philando Castile
11:13PM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Online National News
Officer acquitted in Castile shooting; hundreds protest
Minnesota police officer cleared of manslaughter charge in fatal shooting of Philando Castile; hundreds gather to protest acquittal
9:48PM ( 5 hours ago )
The Latest: Cuba rejects 'hostile rhetoric' of Trump
The Cuban government is rejecting what it calls the "hostile rhetoric" of President Donald Trump's speech announcing a new U.S. policy toward the island, but says it is willing to continue "respectful dialogue" with the U.S. on topics of mutual interest
8:40PM ( 6 hours ago )
NBC vows to air interview with conspiracy theorist Jones
NBC says it is going ahead with Alex Jones interview despite conspiracy theorist's efforts to 'distract' people
8:12PM ( 7 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
54-4 Oregon State out to finish job in College World Series
Oregon State, on a 21-game winning streak and with a 54-4 record, is out to finish job as College World Series opens
6:53PM ( 8 hours ago )
When it comes to Heimlich, Oregon St teammates not talking
When it comes to Luke Heimlich, his Oregon State teammates at College World Series aren't talking
5:49PM ( 9 hours ago )
Deadlocked jury in Bill Cosby trial struggles to end impasse
Deadlocked jurors in Bill Cosby's sexual assault trial are struggling to end their impasse on charges he drugged and molested a woman in 2004
6:44PM ( 1 day ago )
College Sports
Amazon-Whole Foods deal hammers grocery stores; Dow ticks up
US stocks finish barely higher, but grocery stores, wholesale clubs and other retailers drop after Amazon said it will buy Whole Foods.
11:41PM ( 3 hours ago )
Trump financial disclosures show Mar-a-Lago business boom
President Donald Trump's Washington hotel saw almost $20 million in revenue during its first few months of operation
9:53PM ( 5 hours ago )
The Latest: Dem lawmaker warns Trump against firing Mueller
President Donald Trump has acknowledged for the first time that he is under federal investigation as part of the expanding probe into Russia's election meddling
9:14PM ( 6 hours ago )
AP Business
Pitt releases Johnson to play at UNC as graduate transfer
Pittsburgh has released guard Cameron Johnson to play immediately at North Carolina as a graduate transfer
7:19PM ( 1 week ago )
Pittsburgh, graduate transfer at odds over move to UNC
Former Pittsburgh guard Cameron Johnson is fighting the school to allow him to play immediately at North Carolina as a graduate transfer next season
2:10AM ( 1 week ago )
'A long, strange trip': Thad Matta out as Ohio State coach
Team losing, recruits leaving, back ailing: Thad Matta out as Ohio State coach after 13 seasons
4:48PM ( 1 week ago )
AP Sports - Men's College Basketball
The Latest: Cosby's decade-old testimony is read to the jury
The jury at Bill Cosby's sexual assault trial has heard from the comedian without him actually taking the stand
9:21PM ( 1 week ago )
The Latest: Detective reads Cosby deposition to jurors
A detective is on the stand in Bill Cosby's sex assault trial reading excerpts from a deposition he gave about his relationship with the accuser
5:53PM ( 1 week ago )
Cosby told police his accuser didn't rebuff his advances
The jury at Bill Cosby's sexual assault trial has listened to a 2005 police statement in which the comedian admitted fondling Andrea Constand after giving her some pills
3:37PM ( 1 week ago )
AP Sports - Women's College Basketball
The Latest: About $4 million raised for London fire victims
More than 3 million pounds ($3.8 million) has been raised for victims of the London high-rise fire that has killed at least 30 people and left dozens homeless
2:54AM ( 26 minutes ago )
Search on for 7 Navy crew after ship damaged in collision
Crew from destroyer USS Dewey go to aid of Navy ship damaged in collision with a container vessel that left seven missing
2:46AM ( 34 minutes ago )
LEADING OFF: Surging Moustakas on pace for career season
LEADING OFF: Surging Moustakas on pace for career season for Kansas City, Porcello hopes to turn year around, Milwaukee's Anderson an ace, Tanaka's mysterious season continues
2:41AM ( 39 minutes ago )
Grim search at London blaze site continues as anger mounts
Firefighters are continuing the grim search at Grenfell Tower after a fire that killed at least 30 people as public anger about the blaze continued to mount. Many are demanding answers for how the blaze spread to quickly and claimed so many victims
2:22AM ( 58 minutes ago )
Protesters of Castile shooting largely cleared from freeway
Protesters of Castile shooting largely cleared from Minnesota freeway; anger follows acquittal of officer in the black motorist's death
1:44AM ( 1 hour ago )