Travel treacherous for SEC squads
Posted: Friday, February 11, 2011 9:02 pm
By: By KURT VOIGHT, AP Sports Writer
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Winter weather across the South kept a pair of Southeastern Conference basketball teams on the road longer than planned on Thursday.
Both Arkansas and LSU stayed in Mississippi following games on Wednesday night.
The Razorbacks, who lost 67-56 to Mississippi State, made the decision to stay an extra night before the game against the Bulldogs because of heavy snow in Arkansas and expected snow in Starkville.
The National Weather Service reported 18 inches fell in Fayetteville, which Arkansas coach John Pelphrey said was one factor in the decision.
He also said low visibility was a problem in Columbus, Miss., where the Razorbacks were scheduled to fly out of after the game.
Arkansas (14-9, 4-6 SEC) finally boarded a flight around 1 p.m. Thursday and returned home, where classes have been canceled in each of the past two days due to the weather and have already been canceled today as well.
“We had to jump a few batteries and dig a few guys out, but I think everybody got off safe,” Pelphrey said. “
The Razorbacks, who have lost three in a row, are next scheduled to play on Saturday at home against LSU, which lost to Ole Miss 66-60 on Wednesday night.
The Tigers (10-14, 2-7) also faced difficulty due to the winter weather in Oxford.
The charter plane that was supposed to take them home following the game was stuck in Baton Rouge on Wednesday evening and could not get to northern Mississippi, either Oxford or Tupelo, to pick them up.
After staying overnight in Oxford, the team drove to Memphis on Thursday morning to meet the plane.
The decision was then reached to fly straight to Fayetteville for Saturday’s game rather than fly home and worry about the availability of a charter today, given how backed up flights were getting because of delays throughout the region.
The Tigers arrived in Fayetteville in the early afternoon in advance of Saturday’s game.
“The thinking was we’ve already lost most of Thursday and had planned to travel on Friday so we might as well just go and check into our hotel now,” LSU basketball spokesman Kent Lowe said of the team’s extra day in town. “They’ll look at video in the hotel tonight.
“They weren’t going to practice today anyway. They bring their books, so they can do some more study sessions here. And then they can get ready for the game, which is an early game on Saturday.”
AP Sports Writer Brett Martel in Baton Rouge, La., contributed to this report.