By Barry Janoff
March 14, 2016: On the court, players are not allowed to travel.
But when it comes to getting to the court for a March Madness game, some teams might call a foul on the NCAA for the amount of traveling they must undertake to reach their destination, the Final Four in Houston.
Players from the University of Hawaii, likely not complaining about being in the NCAA Div. I Men's Basketball Tournament, will have a great deal of flight time to think about their First Round game against California, traveling 2,886 miles to Spokane, the farthest among the teams in this year's field.
California has it somewhat better, needing to go a mere 862.5 miles up the coast to face Hawaii in Spokane Memorial Veterans Arena.
In fact, three of the five teams who will travel the farthest to reach their opening round game must fly to Spokane, including St. Joseph's (2,540 miles from Philadelphia); and Maryland (2,480 miles from College Park) to play South Dakota State, which itself is traveling 1,244.5 miles, giving the two teams combined total of 3,724.5 miles — according to stats from online travel site Hotwire.
That's some 500 miles farther than the combined distance that Oregon State (1,924.9 miles) and VCU (1,289.7) must travel to face off in Oklahoma City (3,219.6).
However, outdistancing the field, in order to face St. Joseph's, Cincinnati has to travel 2,081.5 miles to reach Spokane, giving the two teams a combined mileage of 4,621.5 before they even hit the court.
Also in the Top Five regarding travel miles: Arizona, taking a 2,597-mile trip from Tucson to Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence, RI; and USC, hopping a plane in Los Angeles and traveling 2,539 miles to their game against Providence (going 686.7 miles) in PNC Arena in Raleigh, NC.
Meanwhile, some teams will barely have their luggage loaded before they have to disembark at their respective destinations.
No. 1 East seed North Carolina will board a bus for its 21.2-mile trip to play in Raleigh, and Oklahoma will be on the road for a mere 23.8 miles to play CSU Bakersfield (which is going 1,343.5 miles) in Oklahoma City's Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Other teams with short trips: Temple and Villanova, going about 100 miles each from the Philadelphia area to play Iowa (embarking on a 1,000-mile journey) and Buffalo (traveling 444.6 miles), respectively, in Barclays Center, Brooklyn; and Yale, whose players don't have to get too comfortable for their 103-mile ride to Providence to play Baylor (trekking 1,830.1 miles).
Overall, the average distance among all teams to reach their destinations in 924.5 miles, according to Hotwire.
Among the other three No. 1 seeded teams, Oregon (West) is going 462.8 miles to Spokane, Kansas (South) is traveling 234 miles to Des Moines' Wells Fargo Arena and Virginia (Midwest) 207.9 miles to Raleigh's PNC Arena.
Of the eight teams heading to Scottrade Center, St. Louis, five have relatively short rides, including Middle Tennessee (342.8 miles), Xavier (349.7), Wisconsin (358.8 Miles), Dayton (362.4 miles), and Michigan State (489.5 miles). Those with longer travel plans to St. Louis: Pittsburgh (604.1 miles), Syracuse (886.5) and Weber State (1,307.3 miles).
Among other teams with more than 1,500 miles in their First Round March Madness travel plans: Iona (1,792.9 miles to face Iowa State in Pepsi Center, Denver), Seton Hall (1,764.3 miles to play Gonzaga in Denver), Texas Tech (1,529.8 miles to face Butler in Raleigh) and Stephen Austin State (1,508.9 miles to reach Brooklyn to play West Virginia).
(Editor's Note: Click on Info-graph for larger image.)
To face St. Joseph's, Cincinnati has to travel 2,081.5 miles to reach Spokane, giving the two teams a combined mileage of 4,621.5 before they even hit the court.
The numbers were released shortly after a humorous multi-media campaign was unveiled by San Francisco-base Hotwire, "Be Slightly Adventurous," which encourages people to hit the road for spontaneous trips and long weekends, which, in effect, describes March Madness without mentioning it by name.
"Being slightly adventurous means saying 'Yes' to long weekends and spontaneous trips, which is exactly what our Hotwire tribe of travelers do," Elisa Humphrey, senior director, brand marketing for Hotwire, said in a statement. "Travel opens us up to more opportunities to choose 'Yes'. And Hotwire is the brand that enthusiastically advocates for more moments of 'Yes'."
Spots, from Hotwire's lead agency, Heat, include "Near Death," "Road Trip," "Have a Good Weekend" and "Three Day Weekend."
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