March Madness kicks off Tuesday
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.
Villanova, the top overall seed in the men's NCAA Tournament, left Philadelphia 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.
Wright said, "I'm not really looking forward to leaving right away. But it hits you with reality, you're in it."
On the women's side, top team UConn will play on Saturday morning, giving Albany, Syracuse and Iowa State more time to travel.
U.S. airlines canceled thousands of flights for Monday and Tuesday in anticipation of the storm.
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.
Providence was leaving early 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, according to athletic director Bob Driscoll.
T25-COLLEGE BASKETBALL POLL
Villanova, Gonzaga, Kansas, Arizona lead final AP poll
NEW YORK (AP) - Villanova, the overall No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, is No. 1 in the final Associated Press college basketball poll of the season.
The Wildcats (31-3) were a runaway choice Monday, receiving 59 first-place votes from the 65-member media panel.
Gonzaga (32-1), which received the other six first-place votes, and Kansas, two No. 1 seeds for the tournament, were second and third, but the poll and the selection committee disagreed on the fourth No. 1.
Arizona was fourth in the poll, while North Carolina, the fourth No. 1 seed, was ranked fifth.
Kentucky was sixth, followed by Duke, UCLA, Oregon and Louisville.
This was Villanova's eighth week as No. 1 this season. Fifteen teams were ranked the entire season, with Villanova and Kansas the only two who spent the entire season in the top 10.
T25-WOMEN'S BASKETBALL POLL
UConn No. 1 in final AP women's basketball poll of season
NEW YORK (AP) - UConn has finished the season at No. 1 in The Associated Press women's basketball poll for the 14th time in school history.
The Huskies (32-0) were the unanimous choice from the 33-member national media panel on Monday, sitting atop the poll for the last 15 weeks of the season. They've won 107 consecutive games and most likely will be the overall No. 1 seed when the women's NCAA Tournament field is revealed Monday night.
It's the fourth straight year that the Huskies are the top team in the final poll.
Notre Dame, South Carolina, Maryland and Baylor follow UConn. The Lady Bears dropped three spots to fifth after losing in the Big 12 title game to West Virginia last week.
The Mountaineers entered the poll at No. 22 while Creighton fell out.