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Hawkeye hoops team back in Iowa after travel woes

[ 0 ] December 2, 2013 |
Villanova's JayVaughn Pinkston, left, is fouled by Iowa's Melsahn Basabe during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Paradise Island, Bahamas, Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013. Villanova won 88-83 in overtime. (AP Photo/Bahamas Visual Services, Tim Aylen)

Villanova’s JayVaughn Pinkston, left, is fouled by Iowa’s Melsahn Basabe during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Paradise Island, Bahamas, Saturday. Villanova won 88-83 in overtime. (AP Photo/Bahamas Visual Services, Tim Aylen)

Iowa’s basketball team made it back safely from the Bahamas to Iowa City on Sunday, nearly 9 hours later than expected.

The Hawkeyes, who lost in overtime to Villanova in the championship game of the Battle for Atlantis in Nassau, Bahamas,  left their hotel at approximately 12:30 a.m. Central time Sunday morning to take a charter flight home. First there was a stop in Sanford, Fla., to go through customs. Then the non-stop flight hit a snag.

An oil light came on in the cockpit, and forced an unscheduled stop in Atlanta. The Iowa party spent several hours there, waiting for repairs to be made. They finally landed in Cedar Rapids around 2:30 p.m. Sunday, and got back to Iowa City an hour later. They were scheduled to be home by 7 a.m.

Iowa coach Fran McCaffery had contemplated a team meeting Sunday evening to start preparations for Tuesday’s game with Notre Dame in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, but scrapped it when the return home was delayed.

“We just gave them (Sunday) to wind down from a long trip. (Monday), we’ll be locked in,” McCaffery said.

The Hawkeye coach doesn’t expect the trip, which included three games in three days, will affect his team in Tuesday’s 8:15p.m. game with the Irish.

“I really don’t think so,” McCaffery said. “I just don’t. These kids are in great shape. It’s been something we prepared for. We have experienced guys who went overseas and back (a six-game tour of England and France in August), and we went to Cancun and back last year. These guys have been through those kinds of trips. And the Big Ten is a grind.”

As of early this afternoon, less than 250 tickets remained for the game between Iowa, 7-1, and Notre Dame, 5-1.

“Our guys know what’s at stake,” McCaffery said. “We’re at home, and I’m going to play a lot of guys so I’ll make sure they’re rested. And we’ll be ready to go.”

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball

About Rick Brown: Rick Brown covers men's basketball for The Des Moines Register and Hawk Central. He's married and the father of two. He also covers golf for the Register. View author profile.

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