Sports

Weather forces Arizona basketball to Uber from Indiana to Illinois

As a tornado ripped through the Midwest, Arizona’s men’s basketball team had to take Ubers.

As a tornado ripped through the Midwest, Arizona’s men’s basketball team had to take Ubers.
Image: AP

On a dark and stormy (and windy, rainy, tornado-ridden, etc. — you get the drift) Midwestern Friday night, the Arizona basketball team landed in Indianapolis after their flight headed for Champaign-Urbana was diverted due to weather conditions. The No. 11-ranked Wildcats were flying into town the night before their matchup against Illinois, who sit atop the B1G right now. Upon landing one state farther than expected, the team decided not to wait for buses and instead called a few Ubers to take them over state lines.

It’s only a two-hour drive between Indianapolis and Champaign, although the severe weather may have extended that little road trip, but as a self-appointed aficionado of the Midwestern Uber scene, I have so many questions about this two-hour journey that will probably never get answered, but beg to be asked anyways.

Obviously, the first thing that comes to mind is the legroom situation for some of the taller members of our society (Wildcats center Oumar Ballo is clocking in at 7 feet) in a car that you don’t get to choose. Did they spend the extra money to call Uber Black cars? Feels like that might add up for a two hour drive with multiple cars, but I don’t know what the team’s transportation budget looks like. Did they make the shorter guys (read: 6-foot-3) sit in the third row of the car and have their knees up around their ears for the entire drive through southern Illinois? Did anybody end up in an SUV trunk? Speaking from experience, there’s plenty of legroom in those. A visual would be so helpful here for educational purposes.

And more importantly — Midwestern Uber drivers hold a special place in my heart for holding some of the most out-of-pocket conversations that I’ve ever heard in my life. I need to know if the Arizona men’s basketball team was getting an hourlong lecture on how the coronavirus was made in a Chinese lab and how the COVID vaccine is a hoax meant to control the population. Or perhaps they were on the unfortunate end of a Bible-inspired homophobic rant. Maybe the driver of the Uber pulled an unloaded gun out of the car’s console just to show the team members who happened to be in that car, or maybe their driver missed a turn and decided to pull a Uie directly over a concrete median. Midwestern Ubers are lawless things. And before you doubt these scenarios, it’s important that you know that these are all things that have actually happened to me and my close friends in Midwestern Ubers.

It sounds like the team got to Champaign safely and without incident, but I hope for their sake that they have some good stories to tell after that drive. And I’ve never been in an Arizona Uber, so this might just be run-of-the-mill stuff for them. Who knows?

The Wildcats will face the Illini at 5 ET tonight. If they win, Uber should really capitalize on this one. Rideshare NIL deal incoming?

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