WASHINGTON — What started with a terrifying moment on, and off, a runway in Ann Arbor could have major implications on the Big Ten Tournament.
Facing high winds in the Midwest, Michigan's team plane aborted takeoff Wednesday and slid off the runway en route to the nation's capital for the conference tournament.
Thankfully no one was hurt in the ordeal, but the rest of the day became a travel nightmare for the Wolverines. They won't leave for D.C. until four and a half hours before tipoff in Thursday's Big Ten Tournament game against Illinois.
That could cause some major upheaval in this week's tournament. Obviously it will be a big challenge for Michigan to step off the plane and play a game, potentially giving Illinois an edge and halting the momentum of the Wolverines, who won six of their final eight regular-season games and entered this tournament as one of the conference's hottest teams.
But the winner of this game plays Purdue in the quarterfinals on Friday, meaning this game could send ripple effects throughout the bracket.
If Illinois does end up with an edge, a win could drastically affect its chances of reaching the NCAA tournament, entering this weekend on the bubble, according to the Internet's foremost bracketologists.
Illinois had this to say about the situation:
#Illini statement on Michigan: "We're thankful for their safety and wish them remaining safe travels to Washington DC for Thursday's game."— Shannon Ryan (@sryantribune) March 9, 2017
We'll see how much jetlag will affect Michigan on Thursday.