march madness  

Updated 11/30/2009

2009 WBC Report  

 2010 Status: pending 2010 GM commitment

Terry Coleman, CA

2008-09 Champion

Offsite Links


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

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


 Rank Name                From Last  Sum
  1. Bruce Monnin          OH   09  112
  2. Terry Coleman         CA   09   83
  3. John Coussis          IL   08   79
  4. Dennis Nicholson      NY   05   70
  5. Peter Staab           PA   09   66
  6. Ken Gutermuth         TX   09   62
  7. Derek Landel          NY   09   54
  8. Harry Flawd           PA   08   45
  9. Bruce Reiff           OH   09   44
 10. Jeff Martin           CT   08   39
 11. Sean McCulloch        OH   07   38
 12. Marvin Birnbaum       NY   05   38
 13. Jim Gutt              TX   08   36
 14. Jeremy Billones       VA   09   34
 15. Aran Warszawski       is   09   30
 16. Jim Bell              MD   06   30
 17. Debbie Gutermuth      TX   02   30
 18. Bruno Passacantando   CT   09   27
 19. Roger Taylor          VA   04   24
 20. Marshall Collins      CT   09   18
 21. Chris Bauch           LA   08   18
 22  Bob Menzel            MA   08   18
 23. Gene Gibson           MD   06   18
 24. Paul Risner           TN   05   18
 25. Michael Destro        NJ   01   18
 26. Carrie Lewis          DE   07   15
 27. John Ellmann          MD   05   15
 28. David Anderson        PA   07   13
 29. Alan Heath            MD   08   12
 30. Steve Caler           PA   04   12
 31. Gordon Elgart         CA   03   12
 32. Keith Hunsinger       OH   08   10
 33. Mark Yoshikawa        CA   04    9
 34. Stuart Tucker         MD   99    8
 35. Nicole Reiff          OH   09    6
 36. Debbie Bell           MD   08    6
 37. Ananda Gupta          MD   03    6
 38. Andy Lewis            MD   06    4
 39. Peter Stein           OH   00    4
 40. Chris Palermo         NY   99    4
 41. Bob Hamel             CT   09    3
 42. Bob Jamelli           PA   08    3
 43. Ric Manns             IN   05    3
 44. Tom Browne            PA   08    2

2009 Laurelists                                                 Repeating Laurelists 

Pete Staab, PA

Ken Gutermuth, NC

Nicole Reiff, OH

Bruce Reiff, OH

Jeremy Billones, VA

Past Winners

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

Terry Coleman, BC
1993-94, 2008-09

Ken Gutermuth, TX
1995, 2003

Jon Diminnie, IN

Bruce Monnin, OH

Dennis Nicholson, NY

Debbie Gutermuth, TX

John Coussis, IL

Marvin Birnbaum, NY

Jerome Billones, VA

Derek Landel, NY

Peter Staab downed former champ Derek Landel in this heat. Pete would advance all the way to the Final.

Terry Coleman grins as Mr Plaque does it again - pulls the magic "Offensive Specialist" cure all evils card against him.


 Max Jamelli and Mark Love play some hoops. Gotta love those pinstripes even if it is the wrong sport.

 Max doesn't fool around ... great upgrade ... what the AH game should have been like ... and cool dice roller too.

The GM Gets His Fourth Title

Another strong year of attendance - in tough economic times, no less - should make it clear beyond any doubt  that  March Madness certainly deserves its Legacy status. A few big hitters were absent, including online champ Aran Warszawski, who couldn't fit MMS into his WBC 2009 schedule but did stop by to say hello. Even so, there were plenty of new participants to take up any perceived slack.

The first heat on Tuesday night is historically speaking only modestly attended. However, I expected a few more would-be John Woodens this time around, as it seemed to me that more folks were showing up to WBC early, appropriate for the first time the convention expanded to a full week. Having said that, little did I (or anyone else) expect a whopping 28 players for the first heat. After consultation with former GMs, we determined that this would appear to be the highest attendance for a single heat in the history of the event, going back 17 years. And exactly half the field had made the Final Four in prior years, so every game in this opening regional was hard-fought.

Derek Landel managed to draft Arizona 2001, the same team he had taken to within inches of the online title game, and rode his favorite horse to the regional final with wins over Dave Denton, Sean McCulloch, Mark Yoshikawa, and Paul Gaberson. Before falling to the Derek juggernaut, Paul had survived an overtime game vs. Chad Gormly, another close call against defending finalist Harry Flawd, and a tough contest vs. newcomer Kevin Wojtaszyk, who showed that prowess in the online version of MMS can translate to success across a live board at WBC.

In the upper bracket, we were happy to welcome back J.R. Tracy, who found unfortunately that the top-seeded UCLA Bruins weren't enough to overcome a little rust, and fell prey to an upset. Mark Mitchell beat veteran Pete Stein, who would have the misfortune of facing off against hot players all week (and rolling dice of his own that were cold even by Pete's standards). Likewise, last year's breakout player, Tom Browne, found 2006 champion Jeremy Billones too much to handle. Jeremy looked strong indeed, as he made his way into the regional semis, where he ran into another unstoppable force. Pete Staab has been a strong MMS player for a while, as his 2004 online title would attest. In this event, however, he played even better than usual. Bravely selecting the UNLV 77 team with its infamous "C" defense, Pete mowed down Devin Flawd, defending champ Terry Coleman, Jeremy, and finally Derek, to become the first team in the 2009 Final Four - all the while averaging more than 120 points per game. With that kind of offense, who needs defense?

The second heat on Wednesday morning couldn't quite match the record-setting pace of the first heat, but still had 24 participants. Devin Flawd's bad luck with high seeds continued, as his # 2 UCLA 70 team went down to an inspired performance by Jeff Finkeldey's Depaul 79 squad, 108-95. Similarly, Chris Bauch saw his top-seeded Cincy 61 team fall 78-75 on the last die-roll to 2002 champ Debbie Gutermuth. Deb's reward for winning was that she had to face her husband Ken, fresh from a victory over Marshall Collins (who by his own admission, seems to roll better dice online). Former winner Dennis Nicholson lost early on to Dave Denton, who fell in turn to a resurgent Jim Bell. Max Jamelli broke a recent losing streak with wins over Mark Love and Jeff, but his Michigan State '05 sharpshooters fell flat against Jim Bell's Cincinnati '59 defense.

In the middle of the bracket, Tom Browne got past Keith Hunsinger (who may have been worn out from the previous day's epic six-hour golf excursion), but lost to Michigan State 1979, coached by Roger Taylor. Roger's squad, however, would fall to the more balanced attack of its Michigan State 2001 brethren, led by four-time champion Bruce Reiff.

Bruce beat Pete Stein, Bruno Passacatando, Roger, and finally Max, to make the regional final, his best result in recent years. There he would meet defending champ Terry Coleman, who had fought through his own tough draw: 2005 champ Marvin Birnbaum, Carrie Lewis (multiple Final Fours), and two-time champion Ken Gutermuth. The first half looked great for Bruce, as he built up a six-point lead. Although Terry's scorers were filling up the basket - Larry Bird had 16 at halftime - Bruce's right guard and bench countered with a whopping 33. In the second half, however, it was the unheralded Indiana State defense which proved the stingier, holding Bruce's big guns at bay just enough for Bird & Co. to escape with a 106-98 victory and a berth in the Final Four for Terry. The amazing thing is that Terry was able to draft this team - the 4th seed - with the 18th pick, as most folks seemed to think it would be easy to shut Larry Bird down. Go figure.

Heat #3 was the only one to drop in attendance from the previous year, but still fielded 14 players. Even with a relatively small field, there were still some mild upsets, but in the semis, the faces were familiar ones: Dennis, Derek, Jeremy, and Terry. In the first semi, Dennis tried to control the pace, but his North Carolina '77 squad couldn't put the brakes on Jeremy's high-flying three-pointers, and Florida 2006 moved into the regional final with a 71-58 win. In the other matchup, Terry was determined not to let Derek's excellent Texas Western '66 bench dominate. So, he threw every junk defense he could find, managed to somehow avoid foul trouble, and led 42-33 at halftime. Derek's offense finally got untracked in the second half, but Terry's right forward scored a critical 10 points late in the game, and Terry held for a close 71-65 victory. Perhaps worn down by his rough-and-tumble affair with Dennis' team, Jeremy's squad fell behind in the regional final by 10 at halftime and never recovered. Terry's Arkansas '78 group emerged triumphant 81-51, and carried Terry to the Final Four for the second straight heat.

The last regional had a solid 18 players, with a few new faces to go with the usual vets. Jon Lockwood traditionally puts aside his wargames to play in this heat, and his dedication was rewarded with wins over Dennis and yet another Gutermuth, the young Pam. Then Jon ran smack into the story of the tournament. Another youngster, Nicole Reiff, beat Dave Denton, Bruno Passacatando, and then Jon, on her way to the regional final. It appeared that she might actually face off versus her father, as Bruce had defeated Debbie Gutermuth (in overtime, one of the best games of the tournament), and Carrie Lewis, on his way to a showdown with Ken Gutermuth. In a game which saw the lead change numerous times, on the final die-roll, Bruce needed a 6 to send the game into OT. His magic green die rolled, bounced...and came up a 3. No Final Four for Bruce, but he played quite well this year. And he had to be proud of his daughter. Although Nicole came up short vs. Ken in the regional final, she finished just ahead of her dad in the standings. Looks like the Reiff tradition of collecting plaques is safe for another generation. Her mom will be so happy.

As usual, there were plenty of compelling stories to unfold in the 2009 Final Four. For Pete Staab, it was a chance to add an over-the-board March Madness title to his online crown. For Ken Gutermuth, it was a chance to win his third MMS event. For Terry Coleman, it was the rare opportunity to defend his title, and with a victory, to join Bruce Reiff as the only other person to win MMS four times.

Having already lost to Pete in heat #1, Terry knew that it was well-nigh impossible to shut down the UNLV scoring machine. So why bother with defense? In a game where the referees must have been gasping for breath running up and down the floor, both teams hit baskets from every angle, as Terry's Indiana State team led 64-53 at halftime. Not much changed in the second half, as everyone from Larry Bird to the skinny kid off the bench scored; only one player failed to hit double figures. The problem for Pete was that he had to close the gap, and with Terry matching him score for score, he couldn't. Terry was in the title game with a wild 119-108 win.

Ken was now faced with an uphill climb. He had to beat Terry's other team to get a chance to face Terry's Indy State team in the Final. Lose only once, and the title was Terry's. Early on, the game was close, and in fact, Ken's Illinois 2005 team built a slight lead. But his defense failed to stop Terry's ace Arkansas guards - each scored 14 points in the first half - and Terry held a 47-42 lead with a half to play. With surprising contributions from role players, leads changed hands multiple times, until Terry held a 5-point edge with only one position to go: his worst scorer. After failing to score enough points to send the game to OT, Ken called his last timeout. But on the re-roll, Terry's left forward managed to score two points, which was exactly the margin of victory as Terry retained his title, 94-92.

As GM of this event for several years, I was encouraged by the increase in attendance again this year; over a 4-year period, we've increased by 29%. Who knows? Next year, if we keep on getting new players, we may break that single-heat attendance record again. Regardless, it will still be a great event to run. Thanks to everyone for their continued support of March Madness. See you next year.

Uh oh ... there are two of them ... as Dave Denton discovers to his dismay.

Ooh ... this just gets better and better as Nicole Reiff takes it to the Chairman of the Boards.


 Forget the wood - a Gutermuth will advance ... this game is for some serious family braggin' rights as husband and wife do battle.

 Pete Staab comes up short again as Terry Coleman collects his fourth "hardwood" title.

 Play 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 -- 25.5 ppg
Left Guard: Darrell Griffith (Louisville 1980) -- A Rating -- 28.0 ppg
Right Guard: Carl Nicks (Indiana State 1979) -- B Rating -- 28.5 ppg
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.

 GM     Terry Coleman [6th year]   NA   NA

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