Bruce Reiff, OH
'92, '97-'99, '10
Terry Coleman, BC
Ken Gutermuth, TX
Jon Diminnie, IN
Bruce Monnin, OH
Dennis Nicholson, NY
Debbie Gutermuth, TX
John Coussis, IL
Marvin Birnbaum, NY
Jerome Billones, VA
Derek Landel, NY
Caesar returns for another title.
The Gutermuths outnumber the Reiffs
in this game. Nicole's dad must be out looking for a win ...
John couldn't pull a "Coussis"
this time - both because he wasn't the GM and Marvin swept all
before him to claim his second title.
Like a shot that rolls around the rim, teasing and threatening
to give fans a heart attack, we finally conquered some milestones
in our 20th year of hardcourt hoops. After years of flirting
with but never quite achieving 50 total players, we finally broke
through that glass ceiling with a new record—which means that
in the past ten years, attendance has risen by roughly 28%. Not
bad for a game which has been out of print almost as long as
we've been playing the tournament...
Likewise, the record for a single heat had been 28 players. Not
content with simply equaling that amount in the first heat, the
basketball crazies decided to shatter that record with a whopping
36 players in heat #2, followed by 31 more later.
Among these players were many veterans plus those who had picked
it up more recently, and were only starting to learn the nuances.
And of course, there were those who lived with hot dice in the
early rounds, only to fade away as their dice cooled. But there
were also some ringers. Chief among those was ACD Kaarin Engelmann,
who finally decided to jump in after years of teasing us that
she wanted to play a sports game other than Slapshot (we'll
let you decide whether that really counts). Kaarin went straight
from the MMS demo to wins over Chris Palermo, Mark Yoshikawa,
and Rob Rund. So much for their experience "edge" from
playing all those sports events over the years ...
Along the way, Kaarin also knocked off Jeff Mullet, who was also
experiencing March Madness for the first time. All Jeff
did during the event was defeat Jon Lockwood, Peter Stein and
a host of others on his way to a 5-3 record. Not bad, but Jeff
would finish a distant second in the Rookie of the Year balloting,
as Kaarin also managed to beat former champ Debbie Gutermuth
and make the Final Four.
Meanwhile, in the other heats, it was the tale of two Kens. Two-time
champ Gutermuth plowed through a tough draw of Dennis Nicholson,
Nicole Reiff (another of our graduates who enjoys beating up
her elders), Jeremy Billones, and Rob Rund, who found that his
favorite 4-Corner Stall doesn't always work.
Ken Samuel tried to emulate his namesake with the top seed in
the following heat - and had some excellent wins over Mark Mitchell
and '07 champ Derek Landel - but in the end, came up short vs.
Marvin Birnbaum's balanced attack.
With all of this mayhem going on, Jeff Finkeldey pretty much
snuck into the Final Four, even though he had overcome Max Jamelli
(in the best game of the event, a double-overtime thriller),
Nicole Reiff (you know - the Reiff that took home wood this year),
and Doug Porterfield. It should be noted that Doug not only had
a winning record this year, he provided the biggest upset of
the event by depriving defending champ Bruce Reiff his best chance
to defend his crown. Yet another hero in the Decline & Fall
of Reiff saga. Ten years from now, there will be 3,000 people
who will claim to have had a hand in stopping "the streak".
By the time of the regional final, it was practically ordained
that Jeff would find a way to win, and he came from behind to
beat four-time champion Terry Coleman by three points on the
Jeff's luck continued against Kaarin's upstart team. Until the
Final Four, it seemed no one could stop the guards on Jeff's
Arkansas squad, who were filling up the basket from just about
anywhere, against anyone. Kaarin's tough D slowed down at least
one of Jeff's guards, but his worst player somehow managed to
score six points, negating her advantage. Trying to catch up,
Kaarin committed a number of fouls, which hadn't slowed her earlier
in the tournament, but made just enough of a difference this
time around that the Finkeldey Five squeaked into the championship
Meanwhile, Marvin had managed to defeat Ken's team in the other
semi, putting the '02 Caesar in position for his second MMS title.
Marvin had the UCLA 70 squad which, while not as well known as
some of the more famous UCLA teams, featured a very balanced
attack with scoring punch at every position but a B defense.
With Arkansas '78, Jeff countered with its scintillating pair
of high-scoring guards and a stout A defense. The two squads
were rated the same, so we expected a close Final.
Things started off well for the southern lads, as the UCLA coach
was called for a Technical Foul right after the tip (we won't
speculate as to whether this was appropriate). Jeff played cards
to maximize his guards, and Marvin countered with a stall. After
lots of banging around the basket, the UCLA big men and the smaller
Arkansas team had fought to a 30-30 deadlock at the half.
In the second half, however, Jeff's luck abandoned him. He was
also called for a T, and that, plus Marvin's slight card advantage,
was beginning to tell. Jeff decided to go for the Run-and-Gun
offense and unleash his deadly guard attack. It worked for a
time, but before Jeff could change his strategy, Marvin was able
to maximize his own best scorer. A well-timed Zone defense by
Marvin followed, and there was little left for Jeff to do but
congratulate Marvin on his second MMS title, his second shield
of the week, and his 16th championship overall.
So, Caesar once again sees, and conquers all.
Kudos to Marvin, Jeff, and to the other Final Four participants.
Particular note should be made that both Ken and Debbie Gutermuth
made the top six, reminiscent of Bruce and Nicole Reiff doing
the same only two years ago. Who says gaming can't bring families
together? As always, thanks to everyone for their continued support
of March Madness - particularly this year, given the records
we managed to break. See you next year.
John Shaheen seems confused. That
can happen when you play a Yankee fan wearing a Cowboys jersey
Kaarin has discovered basketball -
and rode her newfound passion all the way to the Final Four -
unfortunately for Robert Rund.
By Email 2010-11
The largest ever field of 44 players contested the eighth
annual BPA March Madness PBeM tournament with 87 games
yielding not only a new MMS champ, but the first ever BPA championship
for Bob Menzel. Unlike the lopsided championship games of the
last two years, this year's title was awarded in a nail biter.
Champion Bob Menzel's 3rd seeded 1991 Kansas team reached
the Final Four in convincing fashion with an average of 23-point
wins over Jim Gutt's Illinois 2005, Thomas Browne's UCLA 1964,
Debbie Gutermuth's Duke 2004 and Mike Pacheco's Cincinnati 2000
squad. He then defeated Debbie Bell's Houston 1983 Phi Slamma
Jamma team 96-86 to move on to the championship game.
Runner-up Thomas Browne's 8th seeded Seton Hall 1989 squad
had a slightly more tenuous run to the Final Four. He earned
comfortable wins over Dennis Nicholson's NC State 1974, Bruce
Reiff's Michigan State 2001, and Daniel Leader's Kentucky 2003
but barely survived a one-point scare over Bill Edward's Duke
2005 squad. A six-point win over Harry Flawd's UCLA 2008 landed
Thomas in the championship matchup.
Menzel's Jayhawks opened up an early 35-34 halftime lead in
the championship game. The game remained close and was tied at
60-60 with just the RF position remaining. Browne's Pirates seemed
to have the advantage with a C rating compared to Bob's D rating.
However, Bob was able to get the Box & One card down before
the position was resolved, placing a -1 drm on the Seton Hall
roll. With the plaque coming down to the final die roll, Bob
outrolled Thomas 4-3, providing the one point margin of victory
in this 65-64 contest. It is of note that the Box & One defense
provided the one point necessary for the win.
In a game this close, it is easy to point out places where
a die roll or a card could have changed the result. However,
Browne's Seton Hall team's greatest obstacle to overcome was
likely only succeeding on 2 out of 18 extra card rolls (an 11%
success rate), far below the six cards which normal luck would
expect to have been gained by those 18 rolls.
Final Four Most Outstanding Player is given to champion Kansas
1991's center Mark Randall. With only a C rating, he averaged
14.9 points per game throughout the tournament, and 16 points
per game in the Final Four. Here is the rest of the All Tournament
All Tournament First Team:
Center Bill Russell (San Francisco 1956) B Rating
Left Forward Joey Graham (Oklahoma State 2005) B
Rating 19.0 ppg
Right Forward Glen Rice (Michigan 1989) A Rating
Left Guard Michael Young (Houston 1983) B Rating
Right Guard John Lucas III (Oklahoma State 2005)
B Rating 23.0 ppg
Bench Kentucky 2003 A Rating 27.0 ppg
The tournament will be restarted this coming October. Come
join us in determining next year's PBeM champion of the BPA March
1st Bob Menzel
2nd Thomas Browne
3rd Debbie Bell
4th Harry Flawd
5th Mike Pacheco
6th Daniel Leader