march madness   

Updated 11/15/2011
2011 WBC Report  

 2012 Status: pending 2012 GM commitment
Marvin Birnbaum, NY
2011 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

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

 Rank Name                From Last  Sum
  1. Bruce Monnin          OH   09  112
  2. Terry Coleman         CA   11   93
  3. Dennis Nicholson      NY   10   90
  4. John Coussis          IL   08   79
  5. Ken Gutermuth         TX   11   74
  6. Marvin Birnbaum       NY   11   68
  7. Harry Flawd           PA   11   67
  8. Peter Staab           PA   09   66
  9. Bruce Reiff           OH   10   64
 10. Derek Landel          NY   10   58
 11. Jeremy Billones       VA   10   40
 12. Sean McCulloch        OH   10   40
 13. Jeff Martin           CT   08   39
 14. Bob Menzel            VT   11   38
 15. Jim Gutt              TX   08   36
 16. Debbie Gutermuth      TX   11   33
 17. Aran Warszawski       is   09   30
 18. Jim Bell              MD   06   30
 19. Bruno Passacantando   CT   09   27
 20. Roger Taylor          VA   04   24
 21. Jeff Finkeldey        OH   11   18
 22. Marshall Collins      CT   09   18
 23. Chris Bauch           LA   08   18
 24. Gene Gibson           MD   06   18
 25. Paul Risner           TN   05   18
 26. Michael Destro        NJ   01   18
 27. Mark Yoshikawa        CA   10   15
 28. Carrie Lewis          DE   07   15
 29. John Ellmann          MD   05   15
 30. Tom Browne            PA   11   14
 31. Debbie Bell           MD   11   14
 32. Daniel Leader         MA   11   14
 33. David Anderson        PA   07   13
 34. Dave Denton           NY   10   12
 35. Alan Heath            MD   08   12
 36. Steve Caler           PA   04   12
 37. Gordon Elgart         CA   03   12
 38. Keith Hunsinger       OH   08   10
 39. Kaarin Engelmann      it   11    9
 40. Stuart Tucker         MD   99    8
 41. Nicole Reiff          OH   09    6
 42. Ananda Gupta          MD   03    6
 43. Mike Pacheco          CA   11    4
 44. Andy Lewis            MD   06    4
 45. Peter Stein           OH   00    4
 46. Chris Palermo         NY   99    4
 47. Bob Hamel             CT   09    3
 48. Bob Jamelli           PA   08    3
 49. Ric Manns             IN   05    3
 50. Don Greenwood         MD   10    2

2011 Laurelists                                                  Repeating Laurelists: 0

Jeff Finkeldey, OH

Ken Gutermuth, NC

Kaarin Engelmann, it

Terry Coleman, CA

Debbie Gutermuth, NC

Past Winners

Bruce Reiff, OH
'92, '97-'99, '10

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
2005, 2011

Jerome Billones, VA

Derek Landel, NY

The Gutermuths outnumber the Reiffs in this game. Nicole's dad must be out looking for a win ... any win.

John couldn't pull a "Coussis" this time - both because he wasn't the GM and Marvin swept all before him to claim his second title.

Caesar returns for another title.

Like a shot that rolls around the rim, teasing and threatening to give fans a heart attack, we finally conquered some milestones in our 20th year of hardcourt hoops. After years of flirting with but never quite achieving 50 total players, we finally broke through that glass ceiling with a new record—which means that in the past ten years, attendance has risen by roughly 28%. Not bad for a game which has been out of print almost as long as we've been playing the tournament...

Likewise, the record for a single heat had been 28 players. Not content with simply equaling that amount in the first heat, the basketball crazies decided to shatter that record with a whopping 36 players in heat #2, followed by 31 more later.

Among these players were many veterans plus those who had picked it up more recently, and were only starting to learn the nuances. And of course, there were those who lived with hot dice in the early rounds, only to fade away as their dice cooled. But there were also some ringers. Chief among those was ACD Kaarin Engelmann, who finally decided to jump in after years of teasing us that she wanted to play a sports game other than Slapshot (we'll let you decide whether that really counts). Kaarin went straight from the MMS demo to wins over Chris Palermo, Mark Yoshikawa, and Rob Rund. So much for their experience "edge" from playing all those sports events over the years ...

Along the way, Kaarin also knocked off Jeff Mullet, who was also experiencing March Madness for the first time. All Jeff did during the event was defeat Jon Lockwood, Peter Stein and a host of others on his way to a 5-3 record. Not bad, but Jeff would finish a distant second in the Rookie of the Year balloting, as Kaarin also managed to beat former champ Debbie Gutermuth and make the Final Four.

Meanwhile, in the other heats, it was the tale of two Kens. Two-time champ Gutermuth plowed through a tough draw of Dennis Nicholson, Nicole Reiff (another of our graduates who enjoys beating up her elders), Jeremy Billones, and Rob Rund, who found that his favorite 4-Corner Stall doesn't always work.

Ken Samuel tried to emulate his namesake with the top seed in the following heat - and had some excellent wins over Mark Mitchell and '07 champ Derek Landel - but in the end, came up short vs. Marvin Birnbaum's balanced attack.

With all of this mayhem going on, Jeff Finkeldey pretty much snuck into the Final Four, even though he had overcome Max Jamelli (in the best game of the event, a double-overtime thriller), Nicole Reiff (you know - the Reiff that took home wood this year), and Doug Porterfield. It should be noted that Doug not only had a winning record this year, he provided the biggest upset of the event by depriving defending champ Bruce Reiff his best chance to defend his crown. Yet another hero in the Decline & Fall of Reiff saga. Ten years from now, there will be 3,000 people who will claim to have had a hand in stopping "the streak". By the time of the regional final, it was practically ordained that Jeff would find a way to win, and he came from behind to beat four-time champion Terry Coleman by three points on the last roll.

Jeff's luck continued against Kaarin's upstart team. Until the Final Four, it seemed no one could stop the guards on Jeff's Arkansas squad, who were filling up the basket from just about anywhere, against anyone. Kaarin's tough D slowed down at least one of Jeff's guards, but his worst player somehow managed to score six points, negating her advantage. Trying to catch up, Kaarin committed a number of fouls, which hadn't slowed her earlier in the tournament, but made just enough of a difference this time around that the Finkeldey Five squeaked into the championship game, 65-63.

Meanwhile, Marvin had managed to defeat Ken's team in the other semi, putting the '02 Caesar in position for his second MMS title. Marvin had the UCLA 70 squad which, while not as well known as some of the more famous UCLA teams, featured a very balanced attack with scoring punch at every position but a B defense. With Arkansas '78, Jeff countered with its scintillating pair of high-scoring guards and a stout A defense. The two squads were rated the same, so we expected a close Final.

Things started off well for the southern lads, as the UCLA coach was called for a Technical Foul right after the tip (we won't speculate as to whether this was appropriate). Jeff played cards to maximize his guards, and Marvin countered with a stall. After lots of banging around the basket, the UCLA big men and the smaller Arkansas team had fought to a 30-30 deadlock at the half.

In the second half, however, Jeff's luck abandoned him. He was also called for a T, and that, plus Marvin's slight card advantage, was beginning to tell. Jeff decided to go for the Run-and-Gun offense and unleash his deadly guard attack. It worked for a time, but before Jeff could change his strategy, Marvin was able to maximize his own best scorer. A well-timed Zone defense by Marvin followed, and there was little left for Jeff to do but congratulate Marvin on his second MMS title, his second shield of the week, and his 16th championship overall.

So, Caesar once again sees, and conquers all.

Kudos to Marvin, Jeff, and to the other Final Four participants. Particular note should be made that both Ken and Debbie Gutermuth made the top six, reminiscent of Bruce and Nicole Reiff doing the same only two years ago. Who says gaming can't bring families together? As always, thanks to everyone for their continued support of March Madness - particularly this year, given the records we managed to break. See you next year.

John Shaheen seems confused. That can happen when you play a Yankee fan wearing a Cowboys jersey in basketball.

Kaarin has discovered basketball - and rode her newfound passion all the way to the Final Four - unfortunately for Robert Rund.

 Play By Email 2010-11

The largest ever field of 44 players contested the eighth annual BPA March Madness PBeM tournament with 87 games yielding not only a new MMS champ, but the first ever BPA championship for Bob Menzel. Unlike the lopsided championship games of the last two years, this year's title was awarded in a nail biter.

Champion Bob Menzel's 3rd seeded 1991 Kansas team reached the Final Four in convincing fashion with an average of 23-point wins over Jim Gutt's Illinois 2005, Thomas Browne's UCLA 1964, Debbie Gutermuth's Duke 2004 and Mike Pacheco's Cincinnati 2000 squad. He then defeated Debbie Bell's Houston 1983 Phi Slamma Jamma team 96-86 to move on to the championship game.

Runner-up Thomas Browne's 8th seeded Seton Hall 1989 squad had a slightly more tenuous run to the Final Four. He earned comfortable wins over Dennis Nicholson's NC State 1974, Bruce Reiff's Michigan State 2001, and Daniel Leader's Kentucky 2003 but barely survived a one-point scare over Bill Edward's Duke 2005 squad. A six-point win over Harry Flawd's UCLA 2008 landed Thomas in the championship matchup.

Menzel's Jayhawks opened up an early 35-34 halftime lead in the championship game. The game remained close and was tied at 60-60 with just the RF position remaining. Browne's Pirates seemed to have the advantage with a C rating compared to Bob's D rating. However, Bob was able to get the Box & One card down before the position was resolved, placing a -1 drm on the Seton Hall roll. With the plaque coming down to the final die roll, Bob outrolled Thomas 4-3, providing the one point margin of victory in this 65-64 contest. It is of note that the Box & One defense provided the one point necessary for the win.

In a game this close, it is easy to point out places where a die roll or a card could have changed the result. However, Browne's Seton Hall team's greatest obstacle to overcome was likely only succeeding on 2 out of 18 extra card rolls (an 11% success rate), far below the six cards which normal luck would expect to have been gained by those 18 rolls.

Final Four Most Outstanding Player is given to champion Kansas 1991's center Mark Randall. With only a C rating, he averaged 14.9 points per game throughout the tournament, and 16 points per game in the Final Four. Here is the rest of the All Tournament Team:

All Tournament First Team:
Center ­ Bill Russell (San Francisco 1956) ­ B Rating ­ 21.5 ppg
Left Forward ­ Joey Graham (Oklahoma State 2005) ­ B Rating ­ 19.0 ppg
Right Forward ­ Glen Rice (Michigan 1989) ­ A Rating ­ 22.0 ppg
Left Guard ­ Michael Young (Houston 1983) ­ B Rating ­ 22.4 ppg
Right Guard ­ John Lucas III (Oklahoma State 2005) ­ B Rating ­ 23.0 ppg
Bench ­ Kentucky 2003 ­ A Rating ­ 27.0 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.

1st ­ Bob Menzel
2nd ­ Thomas Browne
3rd ­ Debbie Bell
4th ­ Harry Flawd
5th ­ Mike Pacheco
6th ­ Daniel Leader

 GM     Terry Coleman [8th year]   NA   NA

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