2013 FBA Playoffs begin June 1
The 2013 Furry Basketball Association Playoffs begin on Saturday, June 1, with a weekend of games between eight teams. Informal voting is underway to choose which games will be covered on FBA Courtside: LIVE!, a radio podcast featuring sports announcer T. Matt Latrans (Coyote) and friends bringing live coverage of FBA action.
Saturday's games include:
- the #8 Santa Ana Spectrums (32-48) playing the #1 Winnipeg Voyageurs (64-16),
- the #7 Williamsburg Minutemen (38-42) facing the #2 Newark Pride (54-26),
- the #6 Spoakane Rapids (38-42) against the #3 Santa Fe Whips (43-37), and
- the #5 Albany Alphas (50-30) against the #4 Biloxi Voodoo (64-16)
The remaining matches of the first round will be played on Sunday, with:
- the #8 Plymouth Taproots (32-48) facing the top team in the regular season, the #1 Tallahassee Typhoons (66-14),
- the #7 Edmonton Totems (36-44) facing the #2 Montana Howlers (47-33),
- the #6 Tennessee Moonshiners (38-42) playing against the #3 Lorain Firestorm (54-26), and finally
- the #5 San Jose Thrust (42-38) playing the #4 Dakota Bikers (58-22)
The 2013 FBA Playoffs had two highly unusual situations that mixed up the seeding order for the year. In both conferences, the top two records were held by teams in the same division, forcing a stronger-performing team into the #4 seed. Per FBA playoff rules, the #1 through #3 seed are reserved for division leaders. Also, in the Eastern Conference, two teams that would have made the playoffs were disqualified for management violations during the 2012-2013 season. The Bangor Tides (36-44) failed to fix their salary cap issues by the league's deadline, and the Baltimore Spirits (35-45) became the first team to be hit by the new "Ned Underwood Rule" which forces teams to diversify the species in their rosters. Their violations allowed the Plymouth Taproots to slip into the #8 seed in the Eastern Conference with a 32-48 record.
Both leagues were dominated by first timers, with the young Winnipeg Voyageurs winning the Western Conference fueled by a strong blend of talent led by young phenom Zoie Wilds (African Hunting Dog, G, WPG). The Tallahasse Typhoons have been slowly rising from the gutters in years past and this year charges to the tops of the skyscrapers by pulling the best record this season at 66-14. While a handful of roster changes scrambled the bench, the biggest change was in hiring new head coach Tazel Tawner (Vixen, TAL) who successfully managed the team's core "Dawg Pack" of Klaus Korber (Doberman, G, TAL), Jake Velox (Swift Fox, G, TAL) and Charles Yotechuk (Coyote, F, TAL) while handling legal controversy behind the scenes.
With both the San Jose Thrust and the Santa Fe Whips having weak starts to the season, the teams heated up in recent months with a handful of smart trades that strengthened both clubs. The last weeks of the regular season saw a see-saw battle between the two teams for the division title, with the Whips stealing it away in the last two games. That forces the San Jose Thrust to face the powerful Dakota Bikers in the first round, with former Thrust star Buck Hopper (Rabbit, G, DAK) in a familiar post-season battle, this time on the opposite side.
One of the league's newest teams, the Edmonton Totems, make the playoffs in their first season, going up against a divisional rival, the Montana Howlers. Former Montana sharpshooter Rocky Caracal (Lynx, G, EDM) goes up against his former teammates save for one, as Howlers franchise player Shane Rufus (Red Wolf, G, MON) was given a season-ending injury a month ago by Dakota rookie Dylan Redfield (Red Deer, F, DAK) now serving a 40-game suspension.
The newly-minted Biloxi Voodoo saw some bad luck attached to their name as sharing the Southern Division with the Tallahassee Typhoons forced them into the #4 spot. That puts them against the Albany Alphas coming out of their best regular season performance in years, posting a winning record. Their success is largely from the acquisition of the highest-ranked player in the league Rodger Umaechi (Husky, F, ALB) who angrily left the Alaska Arctics (18-62) after leading them into the playoffs last season.
The Lorain Firestorm won the Central Division this year after a deflated appearance by the Williamsburg Minutemen who followed their championship a year before with a losing record. The 'Storm face the plucky Tennessee Moonshiners who once again slip into the playoffs from the difficult Southern Division, led by the 2012 Most Improved Player winner Jamie Velasquez (Seagull, G/F, TEN).
Finally, the Newark Pride roar into the post-season yet again with a towering performance from the Northern Division. Their spot at #2 has them well-positioned to reach the Eastern Conference Finals which they have reached—and lost—four years in a row.