Dan Hurley won’t let UConn use travel debacle as a March Madness excuse

GLENDALE, Ariz. — No, Dan Hurley is not using Connecticut’s nightmarish trip to Arizona as some weird sort of motivation.

The top-seeded Huskies’ arrival for this weekend’s Final Four was significantly delayed by plane issues.

They wound up not landing until 3:12 in the morning Pacific time on Thursday.


UConn coach Dan Hurley says the team's plane issues "sucked," but that the won't use it as an excuse.
UConn coach Dan Hurley says the team’s plane issues “sucked,” but that the won’t use it as an excuse. AP

“I think what goes through your mind once you’re done kind of complaining and cursing and muttering, you just start saying to yourself like you don’t really deserve to show entitlement,” Hurley said, as his team prepared to face No. 4 Alabama Saturday night at State Farm Stadium in a national semifinal. He added: “Once that edge wore off, [it was, we’re] lucky to be here. We’re lucky to get an opportunity to come play in the Final Four. Who doesn’t deal with problems with the airlines? … But it sucked.”

Because of the traveling snafu, Connecticut players didn’t have to meet the media.

The Huskies did practice, though later than scheduled. Hurley said he got two hours of sleep on the plane and another two after landing.

“That’s why God made caffeine,” he said jokingly.

The original plane had mechanical issues and it was hard to find a new aircraft.


The UConn Huskies dealt with severe travel issues that have prevented them from arriving in Arizona until the wee hours of Thursday morning.
The UConn Huskies dealt with severe travel issues that have prevented them from arriving in Arizona until the wee hours of Thursday morning. @UConn/X

The team was initially supposed to take off at 6 p.m. Eastern time on Wednesday and didn’t wind up leaving Bradley International Airport in Connecticut until 1:30 a.m.

In all, there were 7½ hours of delays for the defending national champions.

“We did our same routine. We did our video at the hotel. We knew we only had an hour and a half on the court, so it was important to take advantage of shooting, get a little bit of live play so we could get adjusted to a much, much bigger setting,” Hurley said. “We obviously took a little bit off the practice plan. Just make sure that we do a little bit less tonight, let these guys get their rest.

“I mean, listen, these guys were getting in a van driving 14 hours to the Peach Jam, playing two hours later. There’s no excuses. I mean, s–t, I was driving a mini cheese bus to prep school games not too long ago. We’re in the Final Four here, man, with a chance to advance, to repeat as national champions, make history. We’re way past that s–t.”

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