UConn men's team arrives in Phoenix after flight to Final Four delayed by plane issues

The UConn Huskies' men's basketball team has soared its way to the NCAA Tournament's Final Four in Phoenix, but the defending champions were grounded Wednesday night in Connecticut due to "mechanical issues."

UConn's flight to Phoenix ahead of their Final Four matchup against Alabama on Saturday was delayed "due to mechanical issues with the original aircraft," the NCAA confirmed Wednesday. The flight, which was originally supposed to depart Connecticut on Wednesday evening at 6 p.m. ET, left at 1:30 a.m. ET and arrived in Phoenix at 5:14 a.m. ET (3:14 a.m. local time).

“Due to mechanical issues with the original aircraft, UConn men’s basketball team is experiencing a delay and is now projected to depart at approximately 11:30 p.m. ET," the NCAA said in a statement obtained by Stadium's Jeff Goodman. "In conjunction with the school and charter airlines, the NCAA worked to develop several options for travel alternatives to Phoenix. We are very disappointed that UConn will arrive later than anticipated and it’s unfortunate the team’s travel experience has been impacted.”

MARCH MADNESS: Bracket predictions, Final Four picks and odds for the 2024 NCAA Tournament

POWER RANKINGS: Final Four teams in men's 2024 NCAA Tournament based on championship odds

UConn men's basketball coach Dan Hurley told CBS Sports that the team's original chartered flight coming in from Kansas City was significantly delayed with mechanical issues, causing the flight crew to surpass their allowable work hours outlined by the FAA.

UConn has Final Four media availability and practice scheduled on Thursday, but it's not clear if the NCAA will modify the Huskies' schedule to accommodate for the team's late arrival. No. 1 seed UConn is looking to become the first team to win back-to-back championships since the Florida Gators, who won consecutive titles in 2006 and 2007.

The other three Final Four teams have landed in the desert. No. 1 seed Purdue and No. 4 seed Alabama both arrived in Phoenix on Tuesday, while NC State touched down on Wednesday afternoon. NC State vs. Purdue are scheduled to play at 6:09 p.m. ET, followed by UConn and Alabama at 8:39 p.m.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Final Four: UConn men's flight arrives after delay for plane issues