march madness   

Updated Nov. 23, 2012

2012 WBC Report  

 2013 Status: pending 2013 GM commitment

Tom Browne, PA

2012 Champion

Event History
1992    Bruce Reiff      14
1993    Terry Coleman      18
1994    Terry Coleman      37
1995    Ken Gutermuth      46
1996    Jon Diminnie      41
1997    Bruce Reiff      47
1998    Bruce Reiff      44
1999    Bruce Reiff     49
2000    Bruce Monnin     44
2001    Dennis Nicholson     46
2002    Debbie Gutermuth     39
2003    Ken Gutermuth     45
2004    John Coussis     42
2005    Marvin Birnbaum     45
2006     Jeremy Billones     34
2007     Derek Landel     39
2008    Terry Coleman     41
2009     Terry Coleman     43
2010     Bruce Reiff     49
2011    Marvin Birnbaum     54
2012    Tom Browne     46

PBeM Event History
2004    Peter Staab      30
2005    Jim Gutt     30
2006     Bruce Monnin     32
2007    Jeffrey Martin     40
2008     Bruce Monnin     38
2009     Aran Warszawski     38
2010     Dennis Nicholson     42
2011    Bob Menzel     44
2012    Bruce Monnin     46


 Rank Name                From Last  Sum
  1. Bruce Monnin          OH   12  142
  2. Terry Coleman         CA   11   93
  3. Dennis Nicholson      NY   10   90
  4. John Coussis          IL   08   79
  5. Ken Gutermuth         TX   11   74
  6. Marvin Birnbaum       NY   12   70
  7. Harry Flawd           PA   11   67
  8. Peter Staab           PA   09   66
  9. Bruce Reiff           OH   10   64
 10. Derek Landel          NY   12   62
 11. Sean McCulloch        OH   12   52
 12. Jeremy Billones       VA   10   40
 13. Debbie Gutermuth      TX   12   39
 14. Jeff Martin           CT   08   39
 15. Bob Menzel            VT   11   38
 16. Jim Gutt              TX   08   36
 17. Tom Browne            PA   12   34
 18. Aran Warszawski       is   09   30
 19. Jim Bell              MD   06   30
 20. Bruno Passacantando   CT   09   27
 21. Chris Bauch           LA   12   26
 22. Roger Taylor          VA   04   24
 23. Jeff Finkeldey        OH   12   21
 24. Bill Edwards          VA   12   18
 25. Marshall Collins      CT   09   18
 26. Gene Gibson           MD   06   18
 27. Paul Risner           TN   05   18
 28. Michael Destro        NJ   01   18
 29. Peter Stein           OH   12   16
 30. Mark Yoshikawa        CA   10   15
 31. Carrie Lewis          DE   07   15
 32. John Ellmann          MD   05   15
 33. Debbie Bell           MD   11   14
 34. Daniel Leader         MA   11   14
 35. David Anderson        PA   07   13
 36. Dave Denton           NY   10   12
 37. Alan Heath            MD   08   12
 38. Steve Caler           PA   04   12
 39. Gordon Elgart         CA   03   12
 40. Keith Hunsinger       OH   08   10
 41. Robert Rund           MA   12    9
 42. Kaarin Engelmann      it   11    9
 43. Stuart Tucker         MD   99    8
 44. Paul Gaberson         PA   12    6
 45. Nicole Reiff          OH   09    6
 46. Ananda Gupta          MD   03    6
 47. Mike Pacheco          CA   11    4
 48. Andy Lewis            MD   06    4
 49. Chris Palermo         NY   99    4
 50. Bob Hamel             CT   09    3
 51. Bob Jamelli           PA   08    3
 52. Ric Manns             IN   05    3
 53. Don Greenwood         MD   10    2

2012 Laurelists                                                Repeating Laurelists:

Pete Stein, OH

Chris Bauch, TX

Paul Gaberson, PA

Derek Landel, NJ

Marvin Birnbaum, NY

Past Winners

Bruce Reiff, OH
'92, '97-'99, '10

Terry Coleman, BC
1993-94, 2008-09

Ken Gutermuth, TX
1995, 2003

Jon Diminnie, IN

Bruce Monnin, OH

Dennis Nicholson, NY

Debbie Gutermuth, TX

John Coussis, IL

Marvin Birnbaum, NY
2005, 2011

Jerome Billones, VA

Derek Landel, NY

Thomas Browne, PA

Vassili Kyrkos takes on perennial sports contender Harry Flawd.

John - not the GM - Coussis can't pull a Coussis vs Samantha Berk.

The best defense is a Good Offense ...

After five years of increasing attendance, March Madness had finally broken the 50-person ceiling in 2011. Like all streaks, however, it's hard to grab the brass ring year after year, and something had to eventually give. So, in 2012, we couldn't break half a century again, and were forced to settle for only our fifth-highest attendance ever.

Certainly there was nothing to complain about with the level of competition. The West Regional kicked off in its traditional Tuesday evening slot, with a healthy 27 teams ranging from the 1960s to 2009. Terry Coleman managed to draft top seed, UCLA 73. As usual, having the top team was more a curse than a blessing, and Terry got through only two rounds before being dispatched by Roger Taylor and his upset-minded Utah 98 team, who had also knocked off Ken Gutermuth's Houston 82 team in the previous round.

In fact, the upsets outnumbered wins by the favorites so much that you could easily imagine the criticism of the tournament committee on sports talk radio the next morning. The closest thing to a high seed that advanced deep into the event were Harry Flawd's #6 UConn 09 team and Derek Landel's UCLA 70 squad, ranked 4th. When those two teams met in the semis, it meant that one lower seed from the other bracket would, at the very least, make the regional final.

While Derek was upholding the honor of UCLA by winning over Harry, Tom Browne was moving through that other bracket - we can't say quietly, because Tom was taking no prisoners. He had selected the infamous UNLV 77 squad, which featured scorers at virtually every position, along with the dreaded 'C' defense. A typical score for one of Tom's games in this heat was 123-114, but he outscored every team he came up against. After beating, among others, Bruce Monnin - he of the multiple MMS titles online as well as an over-the board championship - Tom then outlasted Sean McCulloch's equally high-scoring New Mexico State 70 squad to meet Derek in the regional final.

It looked as though Tom's momentum would finally fade away. After all, there had never been a C-rated defensive team to make a regional final, much less a Final Four. But despite every defensive move Derek could attempt, Tom always seemed to have the answer, and the bold UNLV hoopsters played their way effervescently into the Final Four. You could almost see the old Shark chewing on his towel in glee...

After the wildfire of upsets in the first heat, the second heat, featuring teams from the Midwest, was almost rigidly predictable by comparison. Jeff Mullet seemed to spit in the eye of the curse, as he steered his top-seeded Cincinnati 61 stars all the way to the regional final. Among his victims were Peter Stein (more on Pete later), former champ John Coussis, and 5-time champ Bruce Reiff; when the latter result was official, you could practically hear the shouts of glee from the registration desk, since Don Greenwood was unable to attend this heat in person.

Meanwhile, in the other bracket, Vassili Kyrkos became the latest convert to MMS to make a big splash. While Vassili is known to many for his Euro prowess - particularly for his two championships in Alhambra - he is also an avid sports gamer. By beating Harry and Bruce Monnin along the way to losing a close semifinal versus Chris Bauch, it shows he is also a good sports gamer (and a good sport, which I can personally attest to).

So, the second heat came down to a couple of literally old-school teams: Mullet's Cincy from the 60s, and Bauch's Indiana 53. Ironically, the IU 1953 team was one of the 'new' teams I had made for this year's event. I had gone back and researched game-by-game to come up with a revised rating for a team that, in the past, had been typecast as an old, slow team from the prehistoric days of peach baskets. In fact, IU 53 only lost a few games in real life on last-second baskets, and it was one of the original fast-break teams in college basketball, with an excellent, athletic defense and decent size. It would be a good matchup for the team from Ohio with the big scorers.

And as it turned out, the Hoosiers were able to maintain an advantage on the key positions. Don Schlundt at Center was a scoring machine for Indiana, and Charles Kraak kept Cincy's top gun, Bob Wiesenhahn, in check just enough for Chris to steer his 2nd-ranked squad to a berth in the Final Four.

Although Heat 3 is technically the South heat, it is affectionately known as the Kentucky Regional, because of the vast number of featured teams from UK and Louisville - nine teams out of 28. Perhaps buoyed by the 'home field' advantage, the majority of these won their opening round. None went farther than Louisville 2012, one of the many new teams featured this year. Coach Dave Platnik's luck, however, finally ran out in the region final, as his overachieving kids were no match for the balanced attack of Paul Gaberson's 1983 NC State team. Paul had the lowest-ranked team to make the Final Four with a 17th seed, more proof than ever that the brackets are as balanced as one could ask for.

Attendance for the last heat invariably drops off a little, as the number of events on Friday explodes, and the inevitable conflicts for folks who've advanced to elimination rounds of other events intrudes on the scene. Still, we had a respectable field of 19 coaches looking for that last chance to make the Final Four.
The competition was fierce. Of the seven former champs in the heat, four didn't make it out of the second round. Marvin Birnbaum managed to - almost - defend the honor of top-seeded teams everywhere by taking his Maryland 74 team to the regional final, only to lose to Pete Stein. Given how closely this mirrored the tourney fortunes of the real-life Maryland team, maybe it's a blessing that neither Don Greenwood nor Debbie Bell was around to see it.

Now down to the money rounds, we were guaranteed to have a new champion. Chris Bauch hadn't made a Final Four in years, but he knew how to get the most out of his team. If anything, you could say Chris was the favorite to win the whole thing. But Tom, who had been an underdog in every single game thus far in the tournament, was not intimidated. As soon as Tom got the chance, out came the Run N' Gun strategy, and triple-digit scoring wasn't far behind. Chris pulled out all of the defense cards he could, but even the mighty Schlundt couldn't stem the tide of double-digit scorers on every single position on Tom's roster, and a few draws from the oxygen mask later, UNLV was in the title game.

In the other national semifinal, Paul Gaberson put his talents gleaned from card-driven strategy games to good use, but his dice failed to keep pace. Pete was able to build up a lead by halftime, and pulled away in the second period to place him in his first Final since 1993, when he lost to Terry Coleman in what both fondly recall as one of the best games they ever played.

Could Pete stop the UNLV juggernaut? Pete's Louisville 75 squad didn't feature big scorers. On the other hand, it had a deep bench and by far the best defense that Tom had yet faced. Still, Tom had also come close to a crown, losing in the final of the 2011 PBeM March Madness event, and he was determined to make the most of his chance. As the Final progressed, Tom scored well, but not exponentially, and Pete's guards, particularly Junior Bridgeman, tossed in enough buckets to keep it close. In fact, the game actually came down to the last position. For a brief moment, it looked like the game might go to overtime, but when all of the timeouts were taken, Tom had won his first MMS title. And with a 'C' defense, no less! Somewhere, John Thompson is shedding more than a few tears.

As for me, this is one of the most fun tournaments I've ever run, and the players seemed to agree. Most of the games were close, the heats ran briskly, and everyone seemed to like the new team cards. As always, I appreciate everyone's feedback and sportsmanship. Regardless of whether we break 50 players next year, I'm sure we'll have another good time - although for sheer unpredictability, it will be hard to top MMS 2012. See you next year!

The Chairman draws Carrie Lewis still looking for her return trip to the Final Four.

Pete Stein and Tom Browne guarantee a new champion in the title game.
 Play By Email 2011-12

The largest ever field of 46 players signed up to contest the Ninth Annual BPA March Madness PBeM tournament over the course of 91 games. For the second year in a row, the title game was a real nail biter.

Three-time champion Bruce Monnin's 8th seeded 2005 Washington team reached the Final Four with 29- and 19- point wins in his first two games. Then it got tougher. First came a 3-point win over Bruno Passacantando's 2007 Pittsburgh, where Bruce outrolled Bruno 6-2 on the decisive final die roll. Fate continued to smile on our top-ranked laurelist in the all-important final die roll in the next three games, as Bruce outrolled Kaarin Engelmann 5-2 for a 3-point win over BYU 2011, outrolled Debbie Gutermuth 6-2 for a 5-point win over 1986 LSU and outrolled Sean McCulloch 6-3 for a 4-point win over 1971 Villanova.

Runner-up Bill Edwards' 46th seeded 2006 Wichita State squad had an easier go of it despite being one of the lowest seeds in the tournament. He started with a 6-point win over Debbie Gutermuth's 1974 Marquette, then an 18-point win over Chris Bauch's 1966 Utah, a 4-point win over Doug Galullo's 2003 Notre Dame and a 21-point blowout of Jeff Finkeldey's 1987 Indiana. A 3-point win in the Final Four over Robert Rund's 2011 Louisville landed Edwards in the championship game.

The title game was a story of timeouts gone awry. In the first half, Bill resolved the Left Guard position where he had a D player with a Fast Break card against Bruce's C. Bill rolled two 4's for himself and a 2 for Bruce. Bruce took the timeout, but the reroll was two 6's for Bill and a 1 for Bruce, gaining Bill an extra six points. With just three Positions left to resolve in the game, Bruce resolved his A bench against Bill's C (with a -1). The roll was a 6 for Bruce and a 4 for Bill, a 12-point swing in Bruce's favor. Bill used his timeout and the new roll was a 6 for Bruce and a 1 for Bill, costing Bill four more points that would end up making the difference in the game, a 2-point 75-73 victory for Bruce.

On the luck front, Bill successfully rolled for four extra cards in the game, while Bruce only got one, and it was too late to get into play before the game ended. However, Bill also got stuck doing the majority of resolutions, and, of course, Bruce hit the set of lucky scoring rolls on the critical Bench position near the end of the game.

Final Four Most Outstanding Player is given to champion Washington 2005's right guard Will Conroy. With only a D rating, he averaged 15.0 points per game in the Final Four. Conroy was the only player (besides the bench) on the champions to outscore his competition in the final game. Here is the rest of the All-Tournament Team as chosen by a panel of eight of the tournament participants:

All Tournament First Team:
Center ­ Don Schlundt (1953 Indiana) ­ A Rating ­ 33.0 ppg
Left Forward ­ Howard Porter (1971 Villanova) ­ A Rating ­ 28.8 ppg
Right Forward ­ Gerald Henderson (2009 Duke) ­ C Rating ­ 20.8 ppg
Left Guard ­ Nate Robinson (2005 Washington) ­ C Rating ­ 17.3 ppg
Right Guard ­ Billy Donovan (1987 Providence) ­ B Rating ­ 23.3 ppg
Bench ­ 2009 Duke ­ A Rating ­ 35.0 ppg

The tournament will be restarted this coming October. Come join us in determining next year's PBeM champion of the BPA March Madness world.

1st ­ Bruce Monnin
2nd ­ Bill Edwards
3rd ­ Sean McCulloch
4th ­ Robert Rund
5th ­ Debbie Gutermuth
6th ­ Jeff Finkeldey

 GM     Terry Coleman [9th year]   NA   NA

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