Toyama, Akita headed to playoffs

The Japan Times

The Toyama Grouses, who never made the playoffs in their previous four seasons of existence, and the expansion Akita Northern Happinets will participate in the 2010-11 bj-league playoffs, it was announced on Thursday.

The bj-league’s Eastern Conference playoff format will still consist of four teams: first-place Hamamatsu Higashimikawa (35-5), Niigata (19-17), Toyama (12-26) and Akita (13-29). The Phoenix, the reigning champions, and the Albirex will be the first-round hosts on May 7-8. The winners will advance to the Final Four on a to-be-announced date. (The Final Four was originally slated to be held May 21-22 at Ariake Colosseum.)

In the East, the Sendai 89ers (24-12), Tokyo Apache (20-14) and Saitama Broncos (14-24) canceled their seasons in the aftermath of the March 11 natural disasters.

In the Western Conference, six teams will advance to the postseason.