SEATTLE, Wash. – Let the games begin: the Professional Bowlers Association’s first “PBA Bracket Battle” is online and ready to go, giving bowling fans an opportunity to pick all of the winners in the Go RVing Match Play Championship which gets underway Wednesday, March 17, at Norwich Bowling and Entertainment Center in Norwich, Conn.
The PBA Bracket Battle will seed the top 56 Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour players and eight players who emerge from the Tour Qualifying Round on March 17 in a 64-player single-elimination bracket competition in the tradition of the NCAA basketball championships which also get underway the same week.
It’s free and easy for PBA fans to play along. Simply visit pba.com and look for the PBA Bracket Battle icon. Bowlers can play the game by themselves or they can set up brackets for their leagues or other groups. Complete rules and prizes are also listed on pba.com. Entries must be submitted by the start time of Round of 64 matches on Thursday, March 18, at 11 a.m. Eastern.
In the PBA Bracket Battle, top-ranked players are seeded into different sections. In theory, the top four seeded players could advance to the semifinal round and No. 1 could meet No. 2 for the title.
Walter Ray Williams Jr. of Ocala, Fla., is the overall No. 1 seed based upon his ranking in the Lumber Liquidators Harry Smith Point Leader Award race. Bill O’Neill of Southampton, Pa.; Wes Malott of Pflugerville, Texas, and Mike Scroggins of Amarillo, Texas, who are ranked No. 2, 3 and 4, respectively, in the PBA points race, are the top seeds in their respective sections of the bracket.
The top eight Exempt Tour players will be paired against players who emerge from the March 17 TQR. Those names and positions will be plugged into the bracket after the TQR is over, but it could produce some interesting matchups. For example, Ryan Ciminelli of Cheektowaga, N.Y., who will try to make the Round of 64 out of the TQR, has already made three TV appearances this season. Likewise, Anthony LaCaze of Melrose Park, Ill., will try to advance out of the TQR. LaCaze proved he can win when he captured his first PBA Tour title in the Earl Anthony Memorial in January.
There are numerous other challenging picks: PBA Hall of Famers Brian Voss and Parker Bohn III will meet in the first round of Williams’ bracket, which also includes 2009 PBA World Champion Tom Smallwood.
O’Neill’s bracket includes Tommy Jones along with Hall of Famers Norm Duke and Pete Weber.
Malott’s section includes Australia’s Jason Belmonte, and current-season winners Mike Fagan and Mike DeVaney.
Scroggins’ bracket includes Patrick Allen, Sean Rash and defending Go RVing Match Play champion Chris Barnes, among others.
Making it even more fun, subscribers to pba.com’s Xtra Frame online live video-streaming service will be able to follow each round as it happens. To sign up, go to pba.com and click on the Xtra Frame icon. For non-subscribers, pba.com will provide non-stop live scoring.
All matches, except the semifinal and championship rounds, will be best-of-seven games. The semifinal and title matches will be decided by three games, total pinfall. In addition, the Go RVing Match Play Championship will be a dual lane conditioning pattern contest, with the left lane using the Shark pattern and the right lane using the Cheetah pattern for all matches.
Fans will receive points in increasing value for correct picks in each round. Winners will be announced at the conclusion of the Go RVing Match Play Championship. The Go RVing Championship match will be televised live on ESPN at 1 p.m. Eastern on Sunday, March 21.