March 2, 2022 

Daily Briefing — Mar. 2, 2022: Pillow fight! Cellar-dwellers kick off conference tournaments

And why is the WNBA struggling to take flight(s)?

Happy hump day! Welcome to The Next’s Daily Briefing, featuring the W Roundup and daily Watch List! Day 112 of college basketball is here, following… nothing, really. But today opens conference tournaments for the SEC, ACC, Big Ten, Pac-12, and A10! Enjoy 11 “pillow fights” (a term I picked up from our A-10 reporter, Natalie Heavren) as the dregs of these conferences, favorites of the Sickos Games, duke it out for the right to get clobbered within the next couple rounds (Duke pun fully intended). (Editor’s note: Or the magic happens! Where’s your sense of magic, Em Adler?)

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But first: our Howard Megdal dropped a bombshell yesterday morning, reporting that New York owner Joseph Tasi chartered flights for the Liberty’s post-Olympics away games last year. Which is a statement that sounds like a bad joke to anyone unfamiliar with the league’s CBA. Essentially, the WNBA CBA positively bars owners from chartering flights for their teams, on account of the fact that several owners would have to sell their teams if they had to treat their players like top-tier professional athletes. The league’s general counsel, Jamin Dershowitz, suggested fining the team the very notion of drafting, suspending ownership, or eliminating the team. The fine ended up coming out to $500,000, and it is the official stance of TDB that it is very cool and good to pay a protest fine to provide the kind of accommodations that players received in college. (Editor’s note: Em Adler’s opinion may or may not match that of The Next staff as a whole.)

This scandal is just emblematic of the struggle taking place with the millionaires in Chicago, Dallas, Indiana, and Phoenix on one side, and the billionaires in Atlanta, Las Vegas, Minnesota, and New York one the other side. Consider that new Lynx owner Marc Lore has a net worth about three orders of magnitude greater than Chicago’s Michael Alter or Dallas’ Bill Cameron. (For what it’s worth, the ownership groups in Los Angeles and Washington fall into the latter group but haven’t been as vocal as the aforementioned quartet; Connecticut is owned by a Native American tribe and their casino, so I don’t know how to evaluate that; and Seattle doesn’t approach the level of that new money, but has been heavily investing in recent years.) As Megdal notes, several owners currently benefit from deliberately underdeveloping their franchises. 

In case you were wondering, the Liberty went 0-5 in the away games they had flights chartered for.

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W Roundup

Free agency

  • Kiana Williams: Signed a training-camp deal with Phoenix, per Khristina Williams of Girls Talk Sports TV.

Visit our offseason trackers page to see all the other free agent moves and how they affect team’s caps, other front-office changes, and more — in neat, colorful fashion!

Watch List, Wednesday, Mar. 2

(All times in Eastern)



Good games


Also watchable

#9 Texas @ RV* Kansas, 8 p.m., ESPN+

Sickos games

Alabama v. Auburn, 2:30 p.m., SEC Network

Duke v. Pitt, 3:30 p.m., ACC Network Extra

Wake Forest v. Virginia, 6:30 p.m., ACC Network Extra

Pac-12 or Big 10 on national television (or national streaming)

Penn State v. Rutgers, 2 p.m., BTN

Wisconsin v. Illinois, 4:30, BTN

*Receiving Votes

Written by Em Adler

Em Adler (she/they) covers the WNBA at large and college basketball for The Next, with a focus on player development and the game behind the game.

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