ALBANY, N.Y. >> The winter storm wreaking havoc in the Northeast forced postponement of an NHL and an NIT game today and the cancellation of most flights in and out of Buffalo as several college basketball teams headed in for the start of the NCAA Tournament.
Tonight’s game between the Winnipeg Jets and New Jersey Devils was postponed and rescheduled for March 28 at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. The NIT game between UNC-Greensboro and Syracuse also was postponed and rescheduled for Wednesday night in the Carrier Dome.
NCAA officials said seven of the eight men’s teams competing in Buffalo had arrived for the NCAA Tournament. Defending national champion Villanova, the top overall seed, was among the first to arrive on Monday, while Wisconsin and Notre Dame flew in on today.
Mount St. Mary’s was scheduled to arrive in Buffalo early Wednesday morning, according to a spokesman for the local organizers. The Mountaineers beat New Orleans 67-66 in the First Four today in Dayton, Ohio, and will take on the Wildcats on Thursday.
Kent State said it was going ahead with its plan to leave Wednesday morning for its game in Sacramento, Calif. The Mid-American champion Golden Flashes are scheduled to fly after the worst of the storm has moved east.
There is less of a chance that the women’s tournament would be affected. UConn is the only team in the Northeast hosting, and they play Saturday morning, giving teams more time to arrive in Connecticut.
The late-season storm slammed the Northeast with sleet and snow today, crippling much of the Washington-to-Boston corridor. It dropped up to two feet of snow in places and grounded more than 6,000 flights.
When it hit Massachusetts, the storm had turned into a blizzard with wind gusts over 70 mph along the coast. But the metropolitan areas of New York City and Philadelphia escaped the brunt of the snow, receiving just a few inches.
In New Jersey, where Monmouth hosted Mississippi tonight in the NIT, there was rain and some snow in several areas, which prompted Gov. Chris Christie to call the storm an “underperformer.”
Quinnipiac coach Tricia Fabbri spent some time Monday before the women’s selection show taking her team food shopping. With the school on spring break and food options limited on campus and the big storm approaching, she wanted to make sure her team, which includes her daughter, was well fed.
“Pending on how bad the storm was, they might need breakfast, lunch and dinner, so we went to the grocery store and made sure they had enough food,” Fabbri said.
When the bracket was revealed Monday night, Fabbri was not only thrilled that her team got a No. 12 seed, meaning they would play on a neutral court against Marquette, but also the destination — Miami.
“It’s going to be great to get out of the Northeast and into the warm sun,” she said. “We’re there for a purpose, but at least when we’re not in a gym it will be beautiful outside.”