march madness   

Updated June 6, 2014

2013 WBC Report  

 2014 Status: pending 2014 GM commitment

Marvin Birnbaum, NY

2013 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
2013    Marvin Birnbaum     51

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
2013    Derek Landel     49
2014    Robert Kircher     44

 Laurels

 Rank Name                From Last  Sum
  1. Bruce Monnin          OH   12  142
  2. Terry Coleman         CA   13  111
  3. Ken Gutermuth         TX   13  104
  4. Marvin Birnbaum       NY   13  100
  5. Derek Landel          NY   14   96
  6. Dennis Nicholson      NY   13   93
  7. John Coussis          IL   08   79
  8. Harry Flawd           PA   13   70
  9. Peter Staab           PA   09   66
 10. Bruce Reiff           OH   10   64
 11. Sean McCulloch        OH   14   58
 12. Jeremy Billones       VA   14   54
 13. Aran Warszawski       il   14   42
 14. Debbie Gutermuth      TX   12   39
 15. Jeff Martin           CT   08   39
 16. Bob Menzel            VT   11   38
 17. Jim Gutt              TX   08   36
 18. Tom Browne            PA   12   34
 19. Roger Taylor          VA   13   33
 20. Jim Bell              MD   06   30
 21. Bruno Passacantando   CT   09   27
 22. Chris Bauch           LA   12   26
 23. Peter Stein           OH   13   25
 24. Jeff Finkeldey        OH   12   21
 25. Robert Kircher        RI   14   20
 26. Steve Caler           PA   13   18
 27. Bill Edwards          VA   12   18
 28. Marshall Collins      CT   09   18
 29. Gene Gibson           MD   06   18
 30. Paul Risner           TN   05   18
 31. Michael Destro        NJ   01   18
 32. Mark Yoshikawa        CA   10   15
 33. Carrie Lewis          DE   07   15
 34. John Ellmann          MD   05   15
 35. Debbie Bell           MD   11   14
 36. Daniel Leader         MA   11   14
 37. David Anderson        PA   07   13
 38. Dave Denton           NY   10   12
 39. Alan Heath            MD   08   12
 40. Gordon Elgart         CA   03   12
 41. Keith Hunsinger       OH   08   10
 42. Robert Rund           MA   12    9
 43. Kaarin Engelmann      it   11    9
 44. Max Jamelli           PA   14    8
 45. Stuart Tucker         MD   99    8
 46. Sarah Bauch           TX   13    6
 47. Paul Gaberson         PA   12    6
 48. Nicole Reiff          OH   09    6
 49. Ananda Gupta          MD   03    6
 50. Mike Pacheco          CA   11    4
 51. Andy Lewis            MD   06    4
 52. Chris Palermo         NY   99    4
 53. Bob Hamel             CT   09    3
 54. Bob Jamelli           PA   08    3
 55. Ric Manns             IN   05    3
 56. Don Greenwood         MD   10    2

2013 Laurelists                                                 Repeating Laurelists:

Terry Coleman, CA
2nd

Ken Gutermuth, NC
3rd

Roger Taylor, VA
4th

Sarah Bauch, TX
5th

Harry Flawd, PA
6th

Past Winners

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

Terry Coleman, BC
1993-94, 2008-09

Ken Gutermuth, TX
1995, 2003

Jon Diminnie, IN
1996

Bruce Monnin, OH
2000

Dennis Nicholson, NY
2001

Debbie Gutermuth, TX
2002

John Coussis, IL
2004

Marvin Birnbaum, NY
2005, 2011, 2013

Jerome Billones, VA
2006

Derek Landel, NY
2007

Thomas Browne, PA
2012
     

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 king.

 Mark Yoshikawa gives up golf long enough to play Carrie Lewis.

Two Regional Champs Not enuff for GM ...

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 over-the-board championships.

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 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 1956) 70-57.

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 ­ 24.7 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.

 GM     Terry Coleman [10th year]   NA
   terryleecoleman@hotmail.com   925-771-9982

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