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 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