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February 3, 2015

2015 Teachers Tournament, QF #2

2015 Teachers Tournament
By the Numbers: The difficulty of predicting wild cards
Quarterfinals Semifinals Finals
1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 1 2

As tonight’s video will show, I’m due for a haircut.The Final Wager – February 3, 2015

That’ll be up soon.

I have to say the lights do strange things to your brain when you’re on stage. I’m sure Lydia doesn’t actually think Benghazi is a term for a tower; heck, I once said Judaism was the main religion of the Moroccan Berbers.

Despite that flub, she has the lead heading into Final. We saw a strong game from all three players tonight.

Lydia

Cuffman

Cathy

Farrell

Michael

Jones

15,400 14,600 9,200

Tonight’s Final Jeopardy! category is:

MATH TERMS

!!!!!

You know I’m all over this, and I’m wagering big (unless I don’t need to). But what should our players do?

We can do some calculations based on what we think the others will will do – I’ve provided a few suggestions below.

As an alternative, we can look at these totals in the context of historical scores, as I did yesterday. Here’s where each stands as of now:

2015 Teachers QF2 preFinal cutoffs

For fun – and yes, I know my definition of “fun” is strange, but whatever – I built a calculator to tell me the best wager for various confidence levels. It’s based strictly on wild cards – winning the game is not taken into account.

Lydia Cathy Michael
Scores 15,400 14,600 9,400
Currently 79% 76% 50%
20% confident 200 0 0
30% confident 200 0 0
40% confident 200 500 0
50% confident 200 500 7,200
60% confident 3,700 2,900 8,200
70% confident 5,000 6,500 9,300
80% confident 6,900 7,700 9,300

You know, I thought this clue was a slam dunk, and spent the 30 seconds smugly patting myself on the back for knowing the response.

Sometimes Jeopardy! is like the SAT: even if you find a decent answer, there might be a better one, so think through all of the options.

What actually happened

This tricky clue changed the odds for our two non-winners significantly.

2015 Teachers QF2 postFinal cutoffs

Semifinalist watch

Winners
Colin O’Grady
Lydia Cuffman

Wild-card standings
includes my estimated probability of advancing based on past data

Erin McLaughlin – 12,600 (89%)
Cathy Farrell – 4,600 (7%)
Martha Jackson – 400 (0%)
Michael Jones – 0 (0%)

The Final Jeopardy! clue

MATH TERMS
THIS WORD FOR A PROCESS THAT LEADS TO A SOLUTION TO A PROBLEM COMES FROM THE ARABIC NAME OF A 9th CENTURY MATHEMATICIAN
Correct response: Show

 

2015 Teachers Tournament
By the Numbers: The difficulty of predicting wild cards
Quarterfinals Semifinals Finals
1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 1 2
5 Comments
  1. Joe Taglic permalink

    I thought FJ was far too difficult in this game, especially for “math terms” – maybe “computer science terms” would have been more appropriate category, as it would have pre-eliminated algebra, which I also had as the answer. The definition was also very open-ended and very easily could be used to describe algebra.

    • I, too, convinced myself that the clue could be referring to algebra as a process. Al-jebr was not a person’s name, though, so there’s no arguing with it, I guess.

      • Better than my answer, at least: equation. Process, sure. Arabic mathematician…well…

  2. Greg permalink

    I thought Cathy’s wager was way too high. Even if you’re confident in the category, $14,600 is a pretty good score. Maybe a small wager to increase your chances a bit, but $10000 just takes you out of contention for a wild card with a miss, which happened here.

  3. aaaa permalink

    Cyberial cigar uno for Lydia for winning her first game and making the semis. Well done my dear(lights Lydia’s Portofino)

What do you think?