march madness [Updated October 2006]  

2006 WBC Report  

 2007 Status: pending 2007 GM commitment

Jeremy Billones, VA

2006 Champion


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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

PBeM Event History
2004    Peter Staab      30
2005    Jim Gutt     30
2006     Bruce Monnin     32


 Rank Name                From Last  Sum
  1. Bruce Monnin          OH   06   70
  2. Dennis Nicholson      NY   05   70
  3. John Coussis          IL   06   61
  4. Ken Gutermuth         TX   06   55
  5. Bruce Reiff           OH   05   40
  6. Marvin Birnbaum       NY   05   38
  7. Sean McCulloch        OH   05   36
  8. Peter Staab           PA   06   36
  9. Terry Coleman         BC   06   35
 10. Jim Bell              MD   06   30
 11. Debbie Gutermuth      TX   02   30
 12. Jim Gutt              TX   05   30
 13. Derek Landel          NY   06   25
 14. Roger Taylor          VA   04   24
 15. Harry Flawd           PA   04   21
 16. Jeremy Billones       VA   06   20
 17. Gene Gibson           MD   06   18
 18. Paul Risner           TN   05   18
 19. Michael Destro        NJ   01   18
 20. John Ellmann          MD   05   15
 21. Chris Bauch           LA   06   14
 22. Bruno Passacantando   CT   04   12
 23. Steve Caler           PA   04   12
 24. Gordon Elgart         CA   03   12
 25. Jeff Martin           CT   06    9
 26. Mark Yoshikawa        CA   04    9
 27. Carrie Lewis          DE   04    9
 28. David Anderson        PA   02    9
 29. Stuart Tucker         MD   99    8
 30. Ananda Gupta          MD   03    6
 31. Andy Lewis            MD   06    4
 32. Peter Stein           OH   00    4
 33. Chris Palermo         NY   99    4
 34. Ric Manns             IN   05    3
 35. Keith Hunsinger       OH   99    2

2006 Laurelists

Jim Bell, PA

Terry Coleman, BC

Ken Gutermuth, TX

Andy Lewis, DE

Chris Bauch, LA

Past Winners

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

Terry Coleman, BC

Ken Gutermuth, TX
1995, 2003

Jon Diminnie, IN

Bruce Monnin, OH

Dennis Nicholson, NY

Debbie Gutermuth, TX

John Coussis, IL

Marvin Birnbaum, NY

Sean McCulloch and Ken Gutermuth among the hopefuls in the opening round of a heat.

Peter Staab drops those fickle dice against Ken gutermuth as daughter Lisa watches.

Jeremy Billones and Jim Bell battling for their first championship in the Final.

Jeremy Joins the Wood Club

March Madness has always held a special place in my heart. Part of the reason is that it debuted as a tournament during 1992, my first time attending the old Avaloncon, starting a streak of 15 years for it, and for me. Moreover, I maintain that it is in many ways the ultimate WBC experience: Keep winning, and make the Final Four; lose, and you're out ­ but you can try your luck in multiple heats. In the end, however, what keeps me running this event, and keeps others coming back, is the high level of competition for a supposedly simple sports game ­ something that is matched only by the level of sportsmanship and camaraderie.

Many veteran gamers, masters of their genres, have tried to succeed at March Madness, only to find that the game has more subtleties than they realized. Some, like 2005 winner Marvin Birnbaum, finally break through after years of trying. Others mumble about it being a 'dice game' and wander off, somewhat dazed by the experience, to the more comfortable surroundings of hexgrids or 'Euro' tiles.

Most, however, of the 32 coaches in this year's event turned out to be true enthusiasts. More than 80% of the field played in multiple heats. Our total attendance was down from the last two years, which can be largely attributed to the debut of new WBC events. In particular, the very popular Twilight Struggle seemed to draw away from Friday's heat, which in previous years was the most highly attended of the four.

In recent years, the March Madness format has been modified, where we moved away from pre-generated brackets for each of the four heats. Traditional Pacific Rim powers such as UCLA were still placed in the West regional, UMass in the East, and so forth. Anyone who pulled an upset was still rewarded by their section of the draw opening up. This system has proved popular, mainly because it gets everyone playing immediately, with very few byes needed.

Tuesday evening's West Regional featured a number of West Coast teams, but only a couple of them fared well. Former champ Dennis Nicholson employed his favorite hurry-up offense with UCLA 70 to prevail over Sean McCulloch 102-91. Another wild melee ended with Carrie Lewis and her New Mexico State 70 team outscoring Roger Taylor 99-87. And while it wasn't a traditionally western team, Mark Yoshikowa beat Bruce Monnin, fresh off his PBeM chmpionship, in a similarly high-scoring game, 95-90 on the last die roll.

The other side of the draw featured lower-scoring games, as Debbie Bell defeated former Consul Devin Flawd 61-55. Your friendly GM continued a trend on opening night by losing the first round to Doug Galullo, 72-68, who then lost to Carrie Lewis. Meanwhile, Jeremy Billones was quietly moving through the draw, defeating Paul Risner, Mark Yoshikowa, and Jeff Finkeldey to reach the regional final. His opponent was veteran sports gamer Harry Flawd, who had beaten Mark Giddings, survived Dennis' highscoring onslaught, and then triumphed over Carrie, to place his Louisville 75 team in the regional final. In the end, Harry's balanced team was unable to score enough, and Jeremy made his first Final Four.

The second heat had a healthy 19 players, including a dozen who had not played the previous heat. Harry Flawd, undeterred by his loss, was back for more, but lost to an inspired Andy Lewis. Andy and his Georgetown 86 team became the story of the tournament, with one triumph over another Flawd (Devin) and Chris Bauch, on his seemingly inevitable march to the final with the lowest seed.

Meanwhile, Pete Staab beat past champ John Coussis. Roger Taylor ran into another red-hot player in Derek Landel, and Terry Coleman squeaked by Mark Yoshikowa in overtime - the third consecutive nail biter that these friends have played. Terry then steered his Providence 73 team to a victory over Pete, to meet Andy in the regional final. It looked like Terry would run away with it, as he built to an early 21-point lead. But Andy never gave up, and fell just short in a furious comeback, as Terry survived to make the Final Four.

There were a healthy 16 entries in heat 3. Among the 'fresh' entrants were some heavy hitters: defending champ Marvin Birnbaum, Debbie Gutermuth, Ken Gutermuth, and Bruce Reiff, who between them, have won seven of the last 11 events. Champs fell like rain, however, as Debbie lost to Devin Flawd, Bruce to Chris Bauch, and Marvin to Roger Taylor (whose luck finally seemed to balance out). Ken, however, fared better with the top seed and led it to wins over Dave Denton and Sean McCulloch, until he ran into Jim Bell's Cincinnati '59 team, a defensive powerhouse.

Meanwhile, Terry Coleman defeated Carrie Lewis in a close game with IU '81, while Peter Stein did the same to Harry Flawd with Louisville '83. Although contested in an early round, this game brought back memories of the first time these rivals had faced off, in the 1993 MMS Final. Fouls, key steals, three pointers galore, but nothing was sufficient to end the game in regulation. By the time the game was finished, with Peter avenging his earlier loss with a satisfying double-overtime victory, the game had drawn quite a crowd. It was easily the game of the tournament.

Perhaps Pete's guys were tired after their previous-round epic, as his guys seemed to run out of gas versus Chris Bauch's very similar Louisville '80 team. In the regional Final, however, the 'doctors of dunk' came up short versus the stifling defense of Jim Bell's Cincy crew. Jim, who has won other sports titles, looked hungrily towards his first Madness plaque.

While a group of 16 contested the last heat on Friday, the numbers were somewhat deceiving. Only two of these players had not played in a previous heat. The first, Andy Maly, beat Peter Stein, and Debbie Bell, before falling to Pete Staab in the semis. Jon Lockwood managed a win over Dave Denton before falling to Ken Gutermuth's 6th-seeded North Carolina team. Ken continued his steamroll run through the draw, beating not only Carrie, Jon and Bruce, but also Pete in the regional final. How would the former champ fare against the newcomer to the Final Four?

As subsequent events would prove, Ken's offense was just as stymied as everyone else, and Jim seemed determined to show that players from the 50's could be competitive in today's game. Jim's opponent was in doubt for much of the game, but Jeremy managed to slow down Terry's high-flying Providence scorers just enough to win, placing Jeremy in his first-ever Final.

In the Final, Jim's Cincinnati lads once again played tough defense. Jeremy, however, was content to grind it out as well, and his hard-working Kansas '71 team prevailed in a surprisingly low-scoring game. Congratulations to Jeremy on his first title, to Andy Lewis for his fabulous performance with the lowest seed, and to the other Final Four participants. In the end, however, my greatest thanks go to everyone involved in the tournament, for making March Madness the most fun event to run, each and every year.

 Play By Email 2005-06

Bruce Monnin emerged victorious over a 32 player field in the third annual BPA March Madness PBeM Championship. Bruce becomes the first player to win both the BPA's March Madness championship at the World Boardgaming Championships as well as the PBeM title.
Bruce's 1975Louisvillesquad jumped out to a 13 point halftime lead and felt good with five quality offensive cards tucked in his hand. But the dice were not so obviously favorable in the second half, and Gene's 1956San Franciscosquad played tight defense and slowly bridged the gap, with the last play of the game being Bill Russell scoring 11 second half points, three points short of what was needed to force overtime. Thus, Bruce won the title by a 83-80 score.
All Tournament First Team:
Center - Bill Russell (San Francisco1956) - B Rating - 22.0 ppg
Left Forward - Larry Bird (IndianaState1979) - AA Rating - 31.3 ppg
Right Forward - Al Wood (North Carolina1981) - B Rating - 22.0 ppg
Left Guard - Jimmy Collins (New Mexico State 1970) - A Rating - 29.0 ppg
Right Guard - Carl Nicks (IndianaState1979) - B Rating - 23.3 ppg
Bench -nMinnesota1997 - B Rating - 28.0 ppg
All Tournament Second Team:
Center - Bill Walton (UCLA 1973) - B Rating - 16.0 ppg
Left Forward - Dave Robisch (Kansas1971) - B Rating -16.8 ppg
Right Forward - Kelenna Azubuike (Kentucky 2005) - C Rating - 20.5 ppg
Left Guard - Milt Wagner (Louisville1983) - C Rating - 25.0 ppg
Right Guard - Frank Williams (Illinois 2001) - C Rating - 23.0 ppg
Bench - Illinois 2001 - A Rating - 27.0 ppg
All Final Four Team:
Center - Bill Russell (San Francisco1956) - B Rating - 22.0 ppg
Left Forward - Edgar Lacey (UCLA 1995) - D Rating - 15.8 ppg
Right Forward - Keith Erickson (UCLA 1995) ­ C Rating- 18.5 ppg
Left Guard - Junior Bridgeman (Louisville1975) - C Rating -14.0 ppg
Right Guard - Chris Duhon (Duke 2004) - D Rating - 12.3 ppg
Bench - Louisville1975 - B Rating -19.8 ppg
Larry Bird took advantage of his AA rating to average 31.3 points per game and become our tournament MVP while leading his team to the Eilite Eight.
Final Four MVP is given to championLouisville1975's right forward Allen Murphy. With his C rating, he averaged 17.0 points a game in the Final Four and outscored his similarly rated adversaries in both games.
Of the 62 games played in the tournament, over half were decided by a margin of victory of 9 points or less, with 17 games being decided by four points or less.
The tournament will be renewed October 15th. Come join us in determining next year's champion of the BPA March Madness world.
1st - Bruce Monnin
2nd - Gene Gibson
3rd - John Coussis
4th -Jeffrey Martin
5th - Peter Staab
6th - Derek Landel
32 Entrants
62 Games Played

MARCH MADNESS: The fourth annual BPA March Madness PBeM Tournament began Oct. 15, 2006 with a team draft. At last report there was still a vacancy for the last pick. All games will be played using the ACTS March Madness module. ACTS ( is free to join. Please familiarize yourself with the ACTS March Madness module before starting tournament play. All entrants in this event will receive two teams, one in each bracket. That ensures that each player gets to play at least two games. The brackets are set up so a player who drafts low in one bracket gets to draft high in the other bracket. The brackets are currently set up to handle 40 entrants, but will be adjusted to handle however many enter. As always, we are indebted to Stuart Tucker for his efforts in adding last year's Sweet Sixteen teams to the collection, allowing me to include more teams in the event which are close to each other in rating. For details, see the event webpage at:
 GM     Terry Coleman [4th year]   NA   NA

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