march madness   

Updated Nov. 10, 2014

2014 WBC Report  

 2015 Status: pending 2015 GM commitment

Andy Lewis, DE

2014 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
2014    Andy Lewis     44

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   14  148
  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   14   78
  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. Andy Lewis            MD   14   24
 25. Jeff Finkeldey        OH   12   21
 26. Robert Kircher        RI   14   20
 27. Steve Caler           PA   13   18
 28. Bill Edwards          VA   12   18
 29. Marshall Collins      CT   09   18
 30. Gene Gibson           MD   06   18
 31. Paul Risner           TN   05   18
 32. Michael Destro        NJ   01   18
 33. Mark Yoshikawa        CA   10   15
 34. Carrie Lewis          DE   07   15
 35. John Ellmann          MD   05   15
 36. Debbie Bell           MD   11   14
 37. Daniel Leader         MA   11   14
 38. David Anderson        PA   07   13
 39. Samantha Berk         PA   14   12
 40. Dave Denton           NY   10   12
 41. Alan Heath            MD   08   12
 42. Gordon Elgart         CA   03   12
 43. Keith Hunsinger       OH   08   10
 44. Robert Rund           MA   12    9
 45. Kaarin Engelmann      it   11    9
 46. Chris Palermo         NY   14    8
 47. Max Jamelli           PA   14    8
 48. Stuart Tucker         MD   99    8
 49. Sarah Bauch           TX   13    6
 50. Paul Gaberson         PA   12    6
 51. Nicole Reiff          OH   09    6
 52. Ananda Gupta          MD   03    6
 53. Mike Pacheco          CA   11    4
 54. Bob Hamel             CT   09    3
 55. Bob Jamelli           PA   08    3
 56. Ric Manns             IN   05    3
 57. Owen Kyrollos         NC   14    2
 58. Don Greenwood         MD   10    2

2014 Laurelists
Repeating Laurelists:

Samantha Berk, PA
2nd

Harry Flawd, PA
3rd

Bruce Monnin, OH
4th

Chris Palermo, NY
5th

Own Kyrollos, NC
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

Andy Lewis, DE
2014
   

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.

Two Regional Champs Not enuff for GM ...

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 Ken Gutermuth.

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 Final Four.

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 first time.

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 latest victim.

 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 [11th year]   NA
   terryleecoleman@hotmail.com    NA 

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