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UConn switches hotels in Las Vegas after rooms unsuitable

Updated March 23, 2023 - 7:25 pm

The Connecticut basketball team received a less than stellar welcome to Las Vegas before its Sweet 16 matchup with Arkansas and switched hotels.

The Hartford Courant reported that players, coaches and other members of the traveling party found their hotel accommodations unsuitable when they arrived Tuesday afternoon, with several rooms not sufficiently cleaned from the apparently raucous previous guests.

“I can confirm that we did change hotels,” a UConn spokesman said in an email, without naming the hotels involved. “But beyond that, we have no comment.”

Despite the room situation, the Huskies made their team dinner Tuesday and practiced Wednesday. The team ended up staying at Resorts World Las Vegas, and a send-off was put together before it departed for Thursday’s game at T-Mobile Arena.

The hotel incident didn’t impact the play of the Huskies, who routed Arkansas 88-65 to advance to the Elite Eight on Saturday.

Dan Gavitt, NCAA senior vice president of basketball who oversees the day-to-day operations of the NCAA Division 1 men’s basketball tournament, called the situation a learning opportunity for future NCAA events in Las Vegas.

“It was a surprise, an unfortunate circumstance,” Gavitt said of UConn’s sudden change of plans. “Our host did a good job of rectifying that as quickly as we could the other night. UConn has been gracious to work through that with us.

“We’re learning by being here for the first time. They’re (Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority) learning for the first time. There’s nothing like experience.

“Despite having hosting so many conference tournaments and other events here, everyone is a little bit different, and the NCAA championship is a little different. We’ll learn from it, get better from it and make sure the next time we come, the event is even better.”

Steve Hill, president and CEO of the LVCVA, concurred and said if there’s any city prepared for a hotel shuffle, it’s Las Vegas.

“I know nobody was happy with the situation, but in a city like this, we can resolve it quickly, and we did,” Hill said. “I think their experience for the weekend is going to be terrific. We will learn from when things go wrong, and there will be bumps along the way. But Vegas is a place that can recover from that.”

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.

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