Bruce Reiff, OH
Terry Coleman, BC
Ken Gutermuth, TX
Jon Diminnie, IN
Bruce Monnin, OH
Dennis Nicholson, NY
Debbie Gutermuth, TX
John Coussis, IL
Marvin Birnbaum, NY
Jerome Billones, VA
Derek Landel, NY
The GM Gets His Third Title
Harry Flawd directs one of his two
squads destined to make the Final Four over Bruno Passacantando.
The road to the Final Four runs through
Andy Maly for the good Reverend Hunsinger as John Coussis awaits
March Madness was granted Legacy status a couple of
years ago, in recognition of its past success and continued WBC
popularity. Since then, attendance has increased slightly each
year. 2008 was no exception, as long-absent veterans returned
to the fray, along with a few new recruits. The latter is the
reason I keep running March Madness as a "B"
event each year -- there are a lot of experienced gamers from
both the Euro and Wargame camps that want to prove that they
can succeed in the sports gaming arena as well. MMS is the perfect
vehicle for such an attempt, since it is relatively easy to learn,
quick to play, yet rewards strategic thinkers with a nod to the
goddess of fate.
In fact, one WBC veteran who only learned MMS a year ago showed
that he was ready to play with the big boys (and girls) this
year. Tom Browne got off to an amazing start in the first heat,
as his San Francisco '56 squad made short work of teams led by
John Shaheen, Roger Taylor, and Mike Dwyer to land Tom in the
Regional Final. In the other bracket, Jeremy Billones beat Terry
Coleman in a matchup of former champs, while Carrie Lewis followed
up on her Final Four finish of 2007 with wins over Mark Yoshikawa
and Paul Gaberson. But neither Carrie or Jeremy were able to
slow down Harry Flawd, who beat not only them, but also Pete
Stein, reigning PBeM champion Bruce Monnin, and finally Tom.
While Harry has been a fixture in regional finals, this was
his first Final Four berth in many years. Generally, the second
heat is the least attended, but Wednesday morning found 20 coaches
vying to move through the draw and join Harry in the Final Four.
Harry lost in this heat to Roger Taylor, who was himself defeated
by Mark Yoshikawa, who had steered his Illinois '05 team to a
victory over Marshall Collins in Round 1. The father, Bob Jamelli,
fared better, pulling an upset over 2002 champ Dennis Nicholson,
while the son, Max Jamelli, lost a hard-fought game vs. Steven
Caler's top seeded Cincinnati '61 team. Mike Dwyer, back after
a long hiatus, proved himself to be a little less rusty than
Don Greenwood. 'Battle Chris' resulted in Bauch holding off LeFevre,
while elsewhere, John Coussis, Andy Maly, Terry Coleman and Keith
Hunsinger also advanced. Terry's luck ran out in the next round,
as Andy Maly took him out on the last position resolved. Steven
lasted longer, but fell to a resurgent Mark Yoshikawa. Any thoughts
Mark might have had about making it to his second Final Four,
however, were short-lived, as he fell to 2004 champ John Coussis
in Round 4. Keith Hunsinger, meanwhile, was quietly plowing through
the bottom of the bracket, beating defending champ Derek Landel,
Chris, and Andy, on his way to a showdown with John Coussis.
In the regional final, John's Minnesota '97 team showed balanced
scoring and smothering defense in building a 34-18 halftime lead.
Keith's Oklahoma State '95 squad refused to buckle, however,
and sparked by strong bench play --helped by 14 points from a
timely Offensive Specialist card on the left forward -- Keith
was able to nip John at the buzzer, 66-65.
Thursday proved nearly as consistent as the previous two heats,
with 18 in attendance, and just as hard-fought. Roger Taylor,
John Shaheen and David Platnik improved on their earlier heats'
results, with David pulling one of the biggest upsets, dismissing
four-time champ Bruce Reiff. David proved this was no fluke by
beating John to make the third round. Former PBEeM champ Pete
Staab beat newcomer Tom Knapp in the first round, only to be
stopped by Chris Bauch in Round 2. Chris followed with a win
over 2000 champ Ken Gutermuth, which placed him in the regional
final. Meanwhile, Terry Coleman and Harry Flawd were winning
against veterans like Sean McCulloch and Jeremy Billones, on
their way to another collision in the regional semis. The first
half was a defensive struggle, as no player on either team could
manage more than 10 points. As expected between these two rivals,
the game came down to the last die roll, and Terry prevailed,
66-61, to make the Final Four.
When Pete Stein drew the top seed in the final heat, the assembled
crowd can be forgiven for wondering if Pete might finally win
the March Madness crown that has eluded him since the
early days of Avaloncon. Stein started out in fine fashion, by
defeating defending champion Landel. Pete then beat Bruno Passacatando,
and followed that with another impressive win versus Jon Lockwood.
Marshall Collins beat Mike Dwyer, but then fell to Ken Gutermuth
in Round 2. Bruce Reiff beat Carrie Lewis, but lost to Ken. Meanwhile,
Harry Flawd and his North Carolina '81 team were mowing through
the draw with the same efficiency Harry had shown in Heat 1.
After Harry knocked off John Coussis, Dave Denton and Ken's 2nd-seeded
Louisville '75 team, he faced off against Pete for the last Final
Four berth. Pete had played in the championship game in 1993,
and it looked as if he might be back this year. But Harry was
not to be denied, and with his win over Pete, became only the
second player in the history of the event to qualify two teams
for the Final Four in the same tournament.
So, our Final Four had no shortage of compelling drama. Keith
Hunsinger had lost to Bruce Reiff in the very first Final Four,
back in 1992. For Terry Coleman, it was a chance to win his first
MMS title in 14 years. For Harry, qualifying two teams twas a
remarkable achievement, fitting for a player who had been a fixture
in regional finals over more than a decade. But Hunsinger was
determined to make his first return to the Final Four in more
than a decade be more than a nod to nostalgia. After a rough-and-tumble
first half, things looked good, as Keith's Oklahoma State team
held a 2-point lead. Both teams were finding ways to score from
unlikely places: Harry's unheralded right forward had 14 points
at the break. But while Keith's bench continued its solid play,
he couldn't get enough scoring to offset Harry's UCLA '73 low
post offense, as Bill Walton exploded for 18 points in the second
half, and Harry advanced with an 82-76 victory. So, things were
simple for Harry: Beat Terry in the semi-final and the title
was his. Terry, on the other hand, would have to beat Harry not
once, but twice.
The first game, however, was not that close, as Terry's Arkansas
'78 team took a 53-27 lead into halftime over the '81 Tar Heels.
A 96-71 loser, Harry changed into his UCLA jersey, while Terry
got another glass of iced tea, and off they went again. This
game featured lots of junk defenses, multiple technicals, and
short bursts of scoring, followed by good players on both teams
not being able to throw it in the ocean. But the nightcap proved
a lot closer than the first game of this doubleheader, 30-28
at the half. As play resumed, Terry was able to score enough
with his Arkansas star guard tandem to stay ahead for most of
the second period. Although Harry scored well with Walton again
(24 points total), foul trouble on his other positions meant
that Harry just couldn't keep pace. In the end, Terry had a hard-fought
68-50 win, and his third March Madness title.
As GM of this event for several years, I was encouraged by
the increase in attendance again this year. While we didn't have
any single heats with 26 or 28 players, we drew from 18-20 for
every heat, which is quite healthy, especially considering the
wealth of quality competing tournaments these days at WBC. I
would like to offer my congratulations to everyone -- not only
the Final Four participants, but to all of the players, for their
continued camaraderie in this most competitive, and good natured,
of WBC events. See you next year.
Although long out of print, this simple
and quick basketball game remains a WBC staple.
Harry Flawd's UCLA colors did him
no good as he fell to Terry Coleman in the Final.
By Email 2008-09
It took just five days after North Carolina's national championship
win for first year player Aran Warszawski to pull off the most
dominating Final Four in the six year history of this email tournament
event. His Cincinnati 2000 squad won its semi-final game by 51
points, then backed off a little bit to coast to a 50-point 106-56
victory in the championship game over Marshall Collins and his
Texas 2006 crew.
The winning team was the #9 seed in its bracket, while the
runner-up was a #25 seed. Once again, the teams in the tournament
were similar enough in strength to allow any beginning seed to
have a chance to compete for the championship.
This was a year for newcomers to show the old hands how things
are meant to be done. Runner-up Marshall Collins won his first
ever March Madness tournament game at WBC this past summer.
Champion Aran Warszawski actually purchased the game at the WBC
auction in August and played his first ever game in the first
round of this PBeM tournament.
Aran's Cincinnati 2000 team reached the Sweet Sixteen by winning
games by an average of 10 points a contest. His next game was
his closest, a 80-77 squeaker over John Coussis' Louisville 1975
squad. He followed with a tight 76-71 win over Bruno Passacantando's
1983 version of the Louisville Cardinals before his two lopsided
Final Four triumphs.
In the other bracket, Marshall Collins and his 2006 Texas
Longhorns survived two separate 2-point victories on his path
to the Final Four, where he survived again in a 77-73 win over
Derek Landel's 2001 Arizona Wildcats before being the sacrificial
lamb in Aran's crowning victory.
Final Four MVP was
given to champion Cincinnati 2000's center Kenyon Martin. With
his B rating, he led the way with 24 points in the semi-final
victory and 25 points in the championship game. Here is the rest
of the All Tournament Team:
All Tournament First Team:
Center: Bill Walton (UCLA 1974) -- B Rating -- 20.7 ppg
Left Forward: Oscar Robertson (Cincinnati 1959) -- AA Rating
-- 25.5 ppg
Right Forward: Lew Massey (NC Charlotte 1977) -- B Rating --
Left Guard: Darrell Griffith (Louisville 1980) -- A Rating --
Right Guard: Carl Nicks (Indiana State 1979) -- B Rating -- 28.5
Bench: Auburn 1999-- A Rating -- 28.8 ppg
For the second year in a row, a definite old school flavor
to the All Tournament Team. Also for the second straight year,
no members of last year's All Tournament Team repeated.
The tournament will be restarted this coming October. Come
join us in determining next year's PBeM champion of the BPA March
Madness world and see if you can come closer than 50 points
to Aran as he defends his title.