Sunday, 23 October 2011

University Challenge - Round Two preview

Yes, I’m sorry about this. I try to do it normally before the repechage round, but there we are. At least we know who all the teams in the second round proper are now.
Here’s the scores: -

Team Score forScore againstMatch totalWin margin
Queen’s Oxford28095375280
Christ Church Oxford270105375165
Worcester Oxford250110360140
Pembroke Cambridge20514034565
Balliol Oxford2052004055
Merton Oxford19516536030
Clare Cambridge19018037010
Homerton Cambridge19011530575

I stress now that the figures for both Homerton and Worcester are based on their repechage games rather than their narrow first round defeats.
So, what conclusions can we draw, if any ? Well, if you look at the match scores, there isn’t a huge amount to choose between many of the teams. Durham were the only team to score over 300, and you have to fancy them, along with Queen’s, Christ Church, and Manchester, all of whom had good wins by more than 150 points. As for the rest , though, making any kind of predictions becomes difficult. Take tomorrow’s match , Clare Cambridge v. Leeds. On paper you might be tempted to say that Leeds scored 220 to Clare’s 195, and so they would be slight favourites. But Clare achieved that when the opposition were good enough themselves to score 180, while Leeds’ win was against a team who managed 115, which suggests a fairly comfortable evening. We know that Clare can beat strong opposition. Can Leeds? Quite possibly – we don’t know yet. So who do you pick ?

There’s a couple of observations to make about the line up for the semis. There are 8 Cambridge and Oxford teams, a balance achieved when Homerton and Worcester made it through the repechage. It’s been quite a while since the Grand Final was won by any other than a team from Oxbridge. Alright, yes, we know that Manchester were the 2009 champions, but they were beaten in the final by Corpus Christi, who were then disqualified. The last non Oxbridge team to win in the final were Warwick in 2007. Last year you might remember that we had a comparable number of Oxbridge teams, although they were almost all from Cambridge. It didn’t matter in the end, since it was the Oxford team, Magdalen, that won the title. Funnily enough, in 2008 we also had 8 Oxbridge sides through to the second round, and eventually repechage winners Emmanuel Cambridge beat St. John’s Oxford in the final. So you’d certainly be foolish to bet against both Queen’s and Christ Church going well.

A great deal depends upon who is drawn to face whom , especially since round two is still sudden death. Theoretically its still anyone’s series to win.


Anonymous said...

Pardon the pedantry, but Birmingham's match total should be 330.

Londinius said...

Hi radinden

Thanks - I put it together on excel, but then copied the figures wrongly onto my post - careless. I absolve you of the charge of pedantry in this case !



Jack said...

It's Queen's College Oxford actually Dave, not Cambridge (sorry to have to correct you).

Londinius said...

Hi Jack

Oh Gawd ! Seriously, thanks for pointing it out - I'll put it right now .