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
2005, 2011, 2013
Jerome Billones, VA
Derek Landel, NY
Thomas Browne, PA
Two Regional Champs Not enuff for
GM Coleman oversees drafting by Harry
Flawd and Jacob Hebner.
Ken Gutermuth is not fooled by Jon
Lockwood's Palevda Gambit.
Ted Drozd opposes the plaque
Mark Yoshikawa gives up golf
long enough to play Carrie Lewis.
After finally shattering the glass ceiling of 50+ attendance
two years ago, March Madness essentially missed the bucket
at the buzzer in 2012, and was forced to settle for only our
fifth-highest attendance ever. But like any great basketball
program, we kept our eyes on the prize, worked hard at recruiting,
and were rewarded with 51 total players in 2013. Moreover, we
achieved this despite missing a number of strong regulars, including
former champs Dennis Nicholson and Tom Browne, who were among
the missing in 2013.
The first heat featured no less than six Bruins teams, but
most of them had a tough time getting out of the gate. Vassili
Kyrkos' second-seeded 1973 UCLA were upset by Jon Lockwood's
UNLV 1987 squad. All-time MMS champion Bruce Reiff defeated Chris
Bauch, whose Louisville Cardinals' internal clocks may have been
off, playing so far west. Mr. Plaque, however, would fall to
Carrie Lewis, who then added Ken Gutermuth to her list of victims
for good measure. Take that, BPA Board! Carrie wasn't done yet
though, as Jacob Hebner - Mr 2013 Team Tournament champ himself,
discovered when he failed to elicit the same magic that Tom Browne
had found in the 2012 champs, the infamous 1977 UNLV team. Carrie's
high-flying five would finally meet its match, as Harry Flawd
and his defense-minded UConn '09 lads pulled out a close victory.
Harry's reward was to face four-time champ, Terry Coleman and
his top-seeded UCLA 1975 team in the regional final. Normally,
the #1 team makes headlines by losing in the first or second
round, but Terry had advaned with wins over Paul Gaberson, Sean
McCulloch, and upset king Jon Lockwood. When he pulled out a
close victory over Harry in the latest episode of their long-standing
rivalry, Terry found himself in the Final Four with a #1 seed.
Next thing you know, they'll be telling us the Madden cover curse
has been lifted...
In Heat 2, there were a number of upsets, including the usual
demise of the top seed, sadly for Ted Drozd and Cincy '61. A
number of the higher-ranked squads advanced, however, including
the powerhouse Arkansas '94 team, as Bruce Reiff had eyes on
his sixth MMS title. Fortunately, the 'other Bruce' showed he
can run-and-gun over the board as well as online, as Monnin won
easily with Oklahoma 1988, dropping Reiff's high seed from the
2013 contenders. 2009 PBeM champ Aran Warszawski didn't fare
quite as well, and later admitted (with a smile) that he prefers
digital dice. Mr. Monnin's run was short-lived, as he lost to
Jeremy Billones in a matchup of former titleholders. Jeremy was
quite pleased with his team, Michigan '13 - one of many teams
new to this year's MMS tourney - until he lost to an old standby,
Louisville '83, coached by Roger Taylor.
When all the popcorn had been swept away, Roger had played
himself into the regional finals. His best win was knocking off
Chris Bauch and 1953 Indiana, while withstanding a 30-point onslaught
from center Don Schlundt. Who says those old teams can't score?
Meanwhile, Terry Coleman had been quietly working his way through
the draw, including another win over rival Harry. Roger had a
good winning record and the better team, so he was the favorite.
An early lead for Roger, however, evaporated as fouls took their
toll. Terry now had two teams in the Final Four.
Competition from a variety of Euro and light wargame sources
have been eating into the Thursday MMS attendance for years (yes,
sports gamers really do play a wide variety of games). And once
again, this heat was the least attended, with only 18 hoop coaches
on hand. Even so, you couldn't have asked for a more wide-open
affair. Two-time champion Marvin Birnbaum moved steadily through
the bracket with yet another #1 seed, as the tournament committee
tried not to look too smug after years of embarrassment. Long
time sports gamer Max Jamelli, newer sports convert Jeff Mullet,
and chip off the old block Danny Lewis all did well. But it was
a complete newcomer that made the biggest splash. Sarah Bauch
- who had been bugging her dad to bring her along for years -
finally made her March Madness debut, and busted the bracket
all the way to the regional finals. Along the way, she bested
Terry Coleman, Max, and Jeff. Although she fell in a close game
to Marvin, Sarah served notice that a Final Four berth is likely
in her future. Her upstaged dad, Chris, was so excited that he
hardly recalled losing in the first round. Then again, maybe
that's why he hadn't brought her before.
As usual, the players - 29 in all - returned for the fourth
heat, their last chance to make the Final Four. The story was
again Roger, who made a run all the way to the heat finals with
another of his newfound fave Louisville teams. It looked for
a while as if Terry would again join him there, but he lost to
Ken Gutermuth in a game decided by the last die roll. It was
a very satisfying win for Ken, as it marked the first time he
had beaten Terry in six years of MMS. In the regional final,
it looked as if Roger's 2013 Cardinals would emulate this year's
real-life March Madness success, but Ken's confident play ruled
the day, and he moved ever closer to his third title.
Unlike the past few years, the Final Four had no Cinderella.
All three coaches were veterans with multiple titles, and all
of the games were tense affairs. Ken's momentum from the fourth
heat was not enough to stop Marvin, who milked his Arkansas guards
for enough points to overcome Ken's balanced scoring. This put
Marvin in the title game vs Terry, in a study of contrasts. Marvin
had the better backcourt and defense, while Terry could counter
with firepower from multiple positions. Marvin led early, but
Terry countered late with a Run-and-Gun offense, actually taking
a 7-point lead entering the half, and increasing that lead early
in the second period. The decisive play occurred midway through
the half, when Terry's best player fouled out. Using his timeout
- which Terry had saved for just such an occasion - didn't help,
as the foul stood, along with a precipitous drop in points scored.
Suddenly, it was Terry who was playing catchup, and he was unable
to outscore Marvin enough in the closing minutes. Marvin won
his second title in the past three years, and joins Terry and
Bruce Reiff as the only players who have won three or more MMS
My thanks go out, not only to the top finishers, but to everyone,
veterans and newcomers alike, for their enthusiasm and feedback.
And while I am happy at the excellent attendance again this year,
whether or not we break the magic 50+ attendance barrier every
year is really not the point. Of all the events I've run at WBC
(and AvalonCon before that) over the past several years, I have
to admit that MMS is my favorite. This was my 10th year
as GM, and I would be perfectly happy to run it for another decade.
The camaraderie of this group is great, and the level of play
keeps getting better every year. See you at the next WBC.
Chris Bauch and Chad Gormly trade
hoops. Chris's daughter, Sarah, at her first WBC, finished fifth.
Harry Flawd's football resume doesn't
impress Scott Nerney on the hard court.
Play By Email 2012-13
The largest ever field of 49 players signed up to contest
the ninth annual BPA March Madness PBeM tournament. A
new champion was crowned, as Derek Landel earned a March Madness
PBeM championship plaque to compliment his 2007 WBC championship.
Derek's 16th seeded Duke 1978 team reached the Final Four with
a 23 point win over Kevin Wojtaszczyk's Pittsburgh 2003 in his
first game. Next came a 13-point win over Dennis Nicholson's
North Carolina 2012, a 9-point victory over Buck Karpowitz's
Dayton 1967 and a 9-point triumph over Vassili Kyrkos' Houston
1987 squad. Derek's narrow escape came in a 90-89 win over Steve
Caler's Illinois 2005, followed by a 7-point win over Jeremy
Billones' Michigan State 1979 to earn his trip to the championship
Runner-up Ken Gutermuth's 50th seeded Houston 1982 team was the
underdog in every game it played in the tournament. Despite that,
he had a fairly easy road to the championship matchup. His first
victim was Steve Caler's Stanford 2008 squad, which fell by 14
points. This was followed by a 7-point win over Terry Coleman's
NC Charlotte 1977, a 23-point walloping of Max Jamelli's New
Mexico State 1970 and a solid 9-point victory over Dennis Nicholson's
Jacksonville 1970. A tight 5-point victory over Peter Stein's
Utah 1998 sent the underdogs into the championship matchup.
The first half of the Final saw the 50th-seeded Houston Cougars
take an early lead. Clyde "The Glide" Drexler was exceptional
and was a big part of the quick start that the Cougars enjoyed,
netting nine points in the half. Despite the lead, Cougars coach
Guy Lewis found himself ejected midway through the 1st half!
His game plan stayed in place though, which was to Double Team
two of Duke's top three scorers. This worked for the most part
as Spanarkel and Banks were limited to just 11 points between
them. However, PG John Harrell stepped up for Duke, as he had
the entire tournament, and scored 10 points off the Double Teams.
When the dust cleared Houston found themselves ahead with a 40-37
lead. The clock had not struck midnight yet on their Cinderella
The Cougars kept their foot on the gas early in the second half,
increasing the lead to nine points. Finally in desperation mode,
Duke coach Bill Foster decided to play some Tight Man To Man
to attempt to cut into the Houston lead. Timeouts were then swapped
over Jim Spanarkel's pivotal 2nd half performance. In the end,
Spanarkel was able to get Duke back to within five. Most importantly,
this left both coaches without any more timeouts. Duke's bench
took over the game midway through the 2nd half with a 14-3 run
claiming the Blue Devils their first lead of the game at 66-60.
Houston wasn't done though. Drexler once again stepped up, cutting
the Duke lead to 67-65. The final matchup was destined to be
Akeem "Not Yet The Dream" Olajuwon vs Mike "GMan"
Gminski. The Cougars brought in an offensive ringer for Akeem
down the stretch. This made the final roll an A (Landel's GMan)
versus a B (Gutermuth's Ringer). With a slim two point lead this
one was going to go wherever the final die roll decided. Lady
luck shined on Duke again and the GMan ended up outscoring the
Ringer 11-4. Duke would be crowned champions on this day with
a 78-69 win in a game that was worthy of the big stage it was
played on. The MVP of the game was undoubtedly Mike Gminski (22
While Gminski was the star of the championship game, the Final
Four Most Outstanding Player is given to champion Duke 1978's
left guard Jim Spanarkel. With his B rating, he averaged 21 points
per game in the Final Four, including 29 points in the semifinal
win over 1978 Michigan State, outscoring Magic Johnson by 11
in his team's 7-point win. 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: Artis Gilmore (Jacksonville 1970) - A Rating: 5 games
- 23.8 ppg
Left Forward: Randy Foye (Villanova 2006) - B Rating: 3 games
- 21.0 ppg
Right Forward: Clyde Drexler (Houston 1982) - C Rating: 6 games
- 18.2 ppg
Left Guard: Jimmy Collins (New Mexico State 1970) - A Rating:
4 games - 26.3 ppg
Right Guard: D.J. Augustin (Texas 2008) - B Rating : 4 games
- 26.0 ppg
Bench: Utah 1998 - B Rating: 5 games - 22.0 ppg
The tournament will be restarted this coming October. Come join
us in determining next year's PBeM champion of the BPA March