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
Andy Lewis, DE
Two Regional Champs Not enuff for
Tripp Killin supplies one of Bruce
Monnin's wins on his way to the Final Four.
Ken Gutermuth thanks Jeff Mullet for
his ticket to the regional final. At least it wasn't Duke.
Mark Yoshikawa and Carrie Lewis meet
again for the second straight year.
Samantha Berk makes it all the way
to the Final only to be denied by mean ol' Andy.
What a difference a year makes. Last time around, the balance
in the real-life NCAA was such that all of the Final Four teams
were added to the March Madness tournament lineup. In
2014, not a single team from the most recent season made the
cut. So, UK and UConn fans, among others, would have to make
do with stellar teams from days gone by.
But it's a tradition to always have some new teams every year.
So, I dug into the archives and updated a few classic teams which
had been given short shrift in the past, as well as some that
never got the attention they deserved. All in all, there were
more than 120 teams available for March Madness 2014,
making it more likely that most players could draft at least
one of their favorite teams, if not one of the top seeds.
And the top seed in the first round was UCLA 75, selected
by Chris Bauch. Unfortunately for four-time champ Terry Coleman,
he found himself facing not only an experienced player in Chris,
but the very team Terry had taken to the Final the year before.
Terry's Wichita State squad acquitted themselves well, but the
lads from Los Angeles simply had too much firepower, pulling
away in the second half. The other UCLA teams fared less well,
with losses by John Coussis, Carrie Lewis and Vassili Kyrkos,
although Chris' daughter, Sarah, did win with UCLA 70.
In the next round, Chris' luck ran out versus Henry Rice,
while Sarah won again, over Jon Lockwood. For those not named
Bauch, Bill Edwards fell to Bryan Collars (no doubt doing sports
game research for his WBC -- The Board Game design), and a number
of former champs marched their way through the draw. The regional
semis would find Sarah as the only non-titleholder among usual
contenders Ken Gutermuth, Bruce Reiff and Bruce Monnin.
Monnin had depended on his defense in beating Mark Yoshikawa,
Tripp Killin, and Derek Landel. But he knew with Sarah's firepower,
he couldn't afford to be passive. Both players were aggressive,
but Bruce was able to avoid critical fouls, emerging with a hard-fought
win. Meanwhile, Bruce Reiff was coaching UK 48, and it seemed
that the oldest team in the tournament fit his style perfectly:
He won relatively easy games vs. Steve Razsewski, Henry (whose
upset dice finally ran cold), and a close win against arch rival
In the battle of the two Bruces, the betting line favored
Reiff, who led all contenders with five former titles.. But Monnin
seemed more relaxed than ever (all those training sessions in
the hotel bar probably didn't hurt). Using an approach similar
to the previous round, Monnin was able to blunt Reiff's top scorers.
For his part, Reiff never saw a good opportunity to use his patented
Offensive Specialist attack, and he was unable to overcome Monnin's
late lead, which put the War at Sea champ into the MMS
In the second heat, which was as usual the best-attended,
Mark Yoshikawa got the top seed. And in a sure sign of the coming
apocalypse, he didn't get upset in the opening round, unlike
most of the previous beneficiaries of the first draft slot. Mark
downed former champs John Coussis and Derek Landel, along with
a resurgent Jon Lockwood, to make the regional semis. His opponent
there would be Samantha Berk, who beat last year's sensation,
Sarah Bauch (5th place in 2013), Jeff Mullet, and in the best
game of the tournament, knocked off defending champion Marvin
Birnbaum in double overtime!
In the other bracket, Terry Coleman beat former MMS
online champ Pete Staab and Carrie Lewis before falling to Owen
Kyrollos in the semifinals. You might expect that the grueling
schedule thus far might have slowed Sam down; but you would be
wrong. After defeating Owen, she was in the Final Four for the
Heat 3 featured teams primarily from the Mideast, so Andy
Lewis' choice of Cincinnati 59 seemed an appropriate choice
especially after he beat Jeff Mullet in OT and four-time champ
Terry Coleman to make the regional final. Several veterans vied
for the opportunity of facing Andy, but it was Chris Palermo
who separated himself from the pack. Chris overcame recent health
issues to be at WBC, and his March Madness run brought
comparisons with that of Peter Stein a few years ago; whether
his struggles become part of WBC lore...we'll have to wait and
see. But Chris' attempt to make the Final Four fell short, as
Andy pulled away in the second half.
The last heat was slightly less attended -- there are a lot
of gaming distractions by Friday -- but it still offered 19 coaches
one last shot at the playoffs. By the time the last three-pointer
had been fired, Harry Flawd was in the regional finals, facing
Jon Lockwood, who must have thought he was rolling dice in Afrika
Korps. In the end, though, Jon's Louisville squad couldn't
stop the multiple high-scoring threats of the Maryland '74 team,
and Harry, a perennial Top-6 MMS finisher, again moved
on to the money rounds as the only repeating laurelist from 2013.
Of the Final Four participants, only one had emerged victorious
before - and it had been 14 long years since Bruce Monnin had
won the over-the-board competition. Still, no less than three
wins in PBeM competition had to make Bruce the favorite in this
quartet. Instead, it was Samantha who played as though being
in the Final Four was something she did every year. Sam was able
to resolve Bruce's Boxing Out card early, which meant that she
could work the ball inside and gain extra points. Similarly,
Bruce was unable to use his Zone defense in the second half,
since all of the front line positions were resolved before the
guards. Sam stayed ahead for most of the game, and held on for
the win, 74-67.
The other national semi was similar: Harry was practically
a fixture here, but the closest Andy had been was watching his
wife play in the Final Four more than a decade ago. Even so,
Andy was able to outscore Harry's front line when it counted,
and we were guaranteed our seventh different champ in the last
nine years. Harry was left to reflect on how close he came to
one of the only WBC sports titles he has never won.
In the title game, an early Technical Foul called on Andy,
plus strong bench play, gave Sam a 24-21 lead. Well-employed
timeouts kept either side from building a big lead, and at one
point, the game was tied at 36-all. As the action became more
heated (Sam got a Technical as well), Andy's lead began to grow.
The key point, late in the game, came when he had a chance to
resolve the Right Forward position, which left Andy up 87-72.
After that, it was pretty much over except for printing the championship
T-shirts, as Andy prevailed, 92-78.
Congrats to Andy for his win, to Sam for her first Final Four
appearance, and to Harry, who should have a Final Four chair
named after him. It was also nice to see Mr. Monnin return to
the top of the board after a long absence (at least offline).
Thanks as always to not only the veterans, but also the new converts
-- we hope to see you all back here (with a few friends) to join
in our summertime version of March Madness next year.
Until then, I'll be researching to see what new teams we can
add to the mix next time around
Jonathan Lockwood becomes Sara Bauch's
By Email 2013-14
A field of 44 entered this year's tenth anniversary BPA March
Madness PBeM tournament. After 87 games, a new champion was
crowned, as Robert Kircher became one of two final four participants
to earn his first March Madness laurels.
Robert's 12th seeded Auburn 1999 team had a narrow two-point
victory in his first game, an 84-82 win over Dennis Nicholson's
Arizona 1997 squad. After an easier 74-59 win over Bob Hamel's
Kansas 1988 team, Robert survived another two-point scare, 71-69,
over Pete Stein's Arkansas 1994 squad. Robert's stress level
then declined, besting Robert Rund (UCLA 1970) 108-97, Derek
Landel (North Carolina 1998) 89-62 and Max Jamelli (San Francisco
Runner-up Aran Warszawski's 35th seeded Oklahoma State 2005 team
was the underdog in every game but one. Despite that, he had
an easier road to the championship matchup. His first victim
was John Coussis' Michigan State 1979 squad, which fell by 6
points. This was followed by a 20-point win over Terry Coleman's
Loyola Chicago 1963, a 25-point stomping of Mike Pacheco's St.
John's 1985 and a tight 5-point win over Jeremy Billones' Oklahoma
State 2004. A 7-point victory over Sean McCulloch's UCLA 1975
sent the underdogs into the championship game.
The first half of the final was a back and forth affair with
three lead changes. The last position resolved in the half would
have given Aran's underdogs a 36-35 halftime lead, so Robert
used his Timeout. However, the new die roll was even more in
Aran's favor, and he took a 36-32 halftime lead.
Aran maintained this lead for most of the second half, leading
53-50 with just two positions remaining. Meanwhile, Robert had
already used his Timeout, making things even dicier for the favorite.
The next position resolved was the Bench, and a favorable die
roll gave Robert a 20-4 result. Aran did not hesitate to use
his Timeout, but the resulting reroll was only a little better,
giving Robert a 10-point advantage for a 63-56 lead.
Aran had the advantage in the last remaining position, with his
"D" Center taking on Robert's "E". It was
not enough; the final die roll gave each player three points,
awarding Robert the 66-59 victory.
The "A" rated Auburn bench was the difference, scoring
21 points while holding the Oklahoma State "C" bench
to 7. Auburn "C" rated LF Chris Porter was the individual
star of the game, outscoring "B" rated Joey Porter
13 points to 9 in the contest.
Earning laurels for their third to sixth place respective
finishes were Max Jamelli who garnered his first MMS laurels
in the tournament, Sean McCulloch, Derek Landel and Jeremy Billones.
The All-Tournament Team was chosen by a panel of eight of tournament
participants. Jimmy Collins repeated with back-to-back selections:
Center Bill Russell (San Francisco 1956) B Rating
6 games 22.2 ppg
Left Forward Chris Porter (Auburn 1999) C Rating
7 games 18.0 ppg
Right Forward Josh Shipp (UCLA 2008) C Rating
5 games 18.0 ppg
Left Guard Jimmy Collins (New Mexico State 1970)
A Rating 2 games 29.5 ppg
Right Guard Trey Burke (Michigan 2013) B Rating
2 games 31.0 ppg
Bench Oklahoma State 2005 C Rating 6 games
The tournament will be restarted this coming October. Come join
us in determining next year's PBeM champion of the BPA March