A Basketball Dynasty in Las Vegas

Spread the Word:

The HBO show Winning Time was a little loose with the facts when it told the 1979 story of then-UNLV head basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian spurning an opportunity to coach the Los Angeles Lakers because of a mob hit. It is true that he was set to leave Vegas for L.A., and it is true that was after his friend was found murdered. Tarkanian did change his mind and stay in Las Vegas, but largely because his family didn’t want to move.

Had he made the jump to the NBA, UNLV’s run of three Final Fours in five years and a national championship in 1990 doesn’t happen. But that run ended two years later, when UNLV was banned from NCAA Tournament play for their associations with a known gambler who was twice convicted for sports bribery.

That was as close as any sports team came to being a dynasty in Las Vegas until now. And that was not until the Las Vegas Aces hired former guard Becky Hammon in 2022 to be their head coach.

In the three years prior to Hammon, the Aces were close, losing in the Conference Finals twice and the WNBA Finals once. With Hammon, they are a perfect two-for-two in winning championships, taking each of their WNBA titles with 3-1 series wins.

The six-time WNBA All-Star Hammon was the Coach of the Year in 2022, and she and two-time MVP A’ja Wilson have teamed up for a rarity in the WNBA. They are the first back-to-back WNBA champions since the Los Angeles Sparks in 2002, and they are the first team in league history to sell out their season tickets.

The Aces play in the 10,000-seat Michelob Ultra Arena, with 8,600 of those seats made available for season ticket memberships. Single-game tickets are still available for the season opener on May 14, when the Aces will sport new uniforms. The uniforms are a new silver and black look that mirrors the Las Vegas Raiders, which is also owned by Aces owner Mark Davis.

The Raiders haven’t won a playoff game in 21 years, so perhaps it is the Raiders that should be changing to mimic the Aces.

Nevada online sportsbooks are paying even odds on the Aces winning a third-straight WNBA title this summer.

Indiana Fever Ticket Prices Way Up

Iowa sensation Caitlin Clark hasn’t even left college yet, and already her projected pro team is reaping the benefits of Clark mania. Last season, the Indiana Fever were second-to-last in the WNBA in average attendance, with the average price for tickets on Vivid Seats at $60. That average for tickets for the 2024 season is now $130 – up 133%.

Clark declared for the WNBA Draft on February 29. The Fever have the first pick in the draft, and Clark’s newest sponsor is the investment company Gainbridge, which just happens to be the arena sponsor for where the Fever play. Hawkeye mania is making the full transition to Hoosier State mania.

Last weekend, Clark and the Iowa Hawkeyes finished the regular season with a win over Ohio State, a game in which Clark passed Pete Maravich as the most prolific scorer in the history of college basketball. The game was also the second-most watched college basketball game this season – men or women – and the lone game to beat it came on Thanksgiving Day with an NFL lead-in audience.

Iowa opens the Big Ten Tournament on Friday, March 8 against Penn State. Iowa online sportsbooks have the Hawkeyes at +800 to win the NCAA Women’s Division I Basketball Tournament. The bracket for the women’s tournament will be announced on Sunday, March 17, at 8 PM ET.

Related News

March 18, 2024

Men’s NCAA Division I Basketball Tournament Betting Preview

After a great week of conference tournament action, and a final goodbye to the Pac-12 conference, the Men’s NCAA Tournament field is set. On Tuesday, the first of 67 games […]

March 18, 2024

Women’s NCAA Division I Basketball Tournament Betting Preview

It was a season for record-breaking in women’s college basketball. Multiple scoring records fell, as did records for television viewership. And now we all turn our attention to what is […]

March 7, 2024

Dan Rodimer, Ex-Wrestler and Congressional Candidate, Charged with Las Vegas Casino Murder

Daniel Rodimer (pictured), a two-time congressional candidate and former WWE wrestler, has turned himself in to Las Vegas Police on charges he murdered Christopher Tapp, 42, in a Resorts World […]

March 7, 2024

A’s Release Las Vegas Stadium Renderings, Leave Questions Unanswered

The biggest remaining hole for the Oakland A’s planned relocation was filled this week, sort of. For months, there has been controversy swirling around the stadium planned for the current […]

Stay Ahead of the Game

Are you ready to take your online gambling experience to the next level? Sign up for the LetsGambleUSA newsletter and get the latest news, exclusive offers, and expert tips delivered straight to your inbox.