03.11.06

The Real March Madness – The ABA Playoffs

Posted in Basketball at 8:36 pm by

The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle’s Bob Matthews sheds light on the difficulty in keeping a fledgling minor hoops league together.

The 24-team American Basketball Association single-elimination playoffs began Friday night. I think.

What I do know is that the Rochester RazorSharks (26-4 record in their inaugural season) will open their playoff run on Sunday, March 19, at Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial. It will be an upset if they don’t win the championship one week later on the same court.

The RazorSharks have a first-round bye and will play the winner of Sunday afternoon’s Boston Frenzy vs. Buffalo Rapids game at Hilbert College in Hamburg. The Frenzy finished the regular season with a 2-20 record.

So how does a 2-20 team make the playoffs? Being paid up and having at least five players guaranteed to show up seem to be the keys.

“We needed playoff replacements for the Florida Pit Bulls and Gallup Talons,” ABA co-founder and commissioner Joe Newman said Friday from the league office in Indianapolis. “We chose the Ohio Aviators and Boston, partly because Boston changed ownership during the season and did a good job.”

I tried to find out where and when the Canton-based Aviators (3-13 record for the regular season, according to the ABA’s always out-of-date standings) will play their first playoff game, but the team’s Web site isn’t functioning and the telephone has been disconnected. Tough way to keep up interest and sell tickets.

Newman said he “suspended” the Pit Bulls from the playoffs because player-coach Tim Hardaway (above, left) “ the former NBA all-star guard ” was a no-show for games on Long Island and in Montreal on the team’s final road trip of the regular season.

“Tim guaranteed he’d be there, but he wasn’t,” Newman said. “His participation was well publicized and we nearly had riots at both sites when he didn’t appear.”

There are whispers that there also is a dispute between Newman and the Pit Bulls regarding who is responsible for bills related to last month’s ABA All-Star Game in Sunrise, Fla.

The Pit Bulls have disappeared from the ABA Web site.

In what we’ll loosely refer to as the big leagues, the Knicks, trying to extend their winning streak to an improbable 3 games, trail the Bobcats, 95-82 at the end of the 3rd quarter. The Knicks must be setting some kind of record this season for most points allowed through 36 minutes of play. Jumaine Jones has scored 24 and Larry Brown’s personal fave Brevin Knight has 11 assists.

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