Winter storm could wreak havoc on NCAA tournament travel for teams, fans


No. 1 seed Villanova is among the teams headed to Buffalo for the first and second rounds of the NCAA tournament. (Frank Franklin II/Associated Press)

With a powerful Nor’easter forecast to slam the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast coasts from Monday night through Wednesday morning, NCAA tournament selection committee chairman Mark Hollis is working to mitigate the effects of the storm on teams’ travel plans.

“There’s concern about the Buffalo site,” Hollis said on a media teleconference, via USA Today’s Nicole Auerbach, after this year’s bracket was revealed Sunday. “The process is, we’re trying to get everyone in earlier. We’re maneuvering with our travel agents to make that happen for teams and officials.”

The eight teams bound for first- and — they hope — second-round games in Buffalo are: Bucknell, Notre Dame, Princeton, Villanova, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, Wisconsin and the winner of Tuesday’s play-in game between Mount St. Mary’s and New Orleans.

Villanova is among the teams that are considering leaving for Buffalo on Monday. Games in Buffalo are scheduled for Thursday and Saturday.

“We’re looking at leaving night right now to try to get out of here before the snow hits on Tuesday,” Villanova Coach Jay Wright said Sunday.

Philadelphia is expected to get 8 to 12 inches of snow starting Monday night. Conditions are expected to be even more severe from New York City to Boston, with snowfall amounts of 12 to 18 inches and wind gusts over 50 mph projected. Schools not traveling to Buffalo but that are located in areas expected to be affected by the storm include Maryland, Providence, Rhode Island, Seton Hall, VCU, Vermont and Virginia. Providence faces USC in a play-in game in Dayton on Wednesday.

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