Saturday, 5 April 2014

UC Final Preview

Last Monday saw the Grand Final of Brain of Britain 2014, and this coming Monday will see the grand final of University Challenge 2014. I don't think that you can argue against the claim that the two best teams in the whole of the competition have made it through. Now, had SOAS won the semi, then we would have had the case of a final contested by two teams who have already played against each other. This didn't happen, though, and so we must look elsewhere for indicators of the most likely outcome. Here's a table comparing the performances of both teams: -

what conclusions can we draw? Well, our main indicators - highest team score in an individual match - highest margin of victory in an individual match - highest average score - highest average margin of victory - are in Trinity's favour, In fact the only indicator in Somerville's favour is that teams have scored fewer points against them than they have against Trinity.

How much should we read into this? Well, while I tentatively install Trinity as favourites - sorry Trinity - it does indicate that this is not necessarily a clear cut case. It may well be that teams score fewer points against Somerville because they - and especially Chris Beer - can be exceptionally quick on the buzzer. Trinity, in several of their matches, have started very slowly, and had to put in a supercharged finish. A team like Somerville, should they be leading with ten minutes to go, could well be able to hang on to the lead, where others couldn't. So I am absolutely not ruling out a Somerville win.

However, and it comes down to no more than this, I just have the feeling, and it's no more than a feeling, that Trinity are the better team. I don't know the average bonus conversion rates for both teams, but it wouldn't surprise me if Trinity's is higher, although not necessarily by much. Whatever the case, and whichever team wins, congratulations to both for fine performances this series, and I wish you all the very best of luck.

No comments: