2017 Tournament of Champions – Quarterfinal Predictions

It’s my favorite two weeks of the Jeopardy! calendar: the Tournament of Champions! 15 past champions return to compete for $250,000!

Here are the quarterfinal matchups, some stats for each player, and my predictions!

Monday, November 6, 2017:


Buzzy Cohen on the 2017 Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions
Buzzy Cohen

Los Angeles, California
206 correct, 36 incorrect
36.53% in first on buzzer (202/553)
13/18 on Daily Doubles (Net Earned: $21,600)
6/10 in Final Jeopardy!
Average Coryat: $14,100
Low-Level Clues, Net: 12.2 per game
High-Level Clues, Net: 4.6 per game

Hunter Appler on the 2017 Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions
Hunter Appler

Augusta, Georgia
162 correct, 16 incorrect
39.12% in first on buzzer (151/386)
6/9 on Daily Doubles (Net Earned: $5,700)
5/7 in Final Jeopardy!
Average Coryat: $16,543
Low-Level Clues, Net: 14.3 per game
High-Level Clues, Net: 6.1 per game

Pranjal Vachaspati on the 2017 Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions
Pranjal Vachaspati

Urbana, Illinois
165 correct, 37 incorrect
44.47% in first on buzzer (169/380)
12/14 on Daily Doubles (Net Earned: $34,810)
4/7 in Final Jeopardy!
Average Coryat: $17,057
Low-Level Clues, Net: 10.1 per game
High-Level Clues, Net: 8.0 per game
Prediction: Pranjal will get an early buzzer advantage and do well at the bottom of the board and cruise to a spot in the semi-finals. Buzzy will do well enough rebounding Pranjal’s low-value negs (most players neg more often at the bottom of the board. Pranjal usually negs at the top of it) to have enough money to salvage a Wild Card when he doubles through Final Jeopardy.

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Tuesday, November 7, 2017


Tim Aten on the 2017 Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions
Tim Aten

Vermilion, Ohio
141 correct, 11 incorrect
28.77% in first on buzzer (126/438)
6/8 on Daily Doubles (Net Earned: $5,000)
5/8 in Final Jeopardy
Average Coryat: $12,150
Low-Level Clues, Net: 11.8 per game
High-Level Clues, Net: 4.3 per game

Lilly Chin on the 2017 Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions
Lilly Chin

Decatur, Georgia
88 correct, 8 incorrect
35.84% in first on buzzer (81/226)
7/7 on Daily Doubles (Net Earned: $13,200)
3/4 in Final Jeopardy
Average Coryat: $16,600
Low-Level Clues, Net: 13.5 per game
High-Level Clues, Net: 6.0 per game

Jason Sterlacci on the 2017 Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions
Jason Sterlacci

Somerset, New Jersey
98 correct, 11 incorrect
40.35% in first on buzzer (92/228)
3/4 on Daily Doubles (Net Earned: $5,400)
2/4 in Final Jeopardy
Average Coryat: $18,850
Low-Level Clues, Net: 14.0 per game
High-Level Clues, Net: 7.8 per game
Prediction: If there is such a thing as “staying too clam”, it might be Tim. While he averages less than 1 unforced error a game, he might struggle to pick up both the low-level clues (thanks to Jason and Lilly having a buzzer advantage), and the more-prevalent high-level clues (His average of net 4.3 per game is lowest in the field.) If there’s a strangely difficult week of Final Jeopardy! clues, Tim might see the semifinals due to attrition elsewhere. Otherwise, I think Jason takes this one with Lilly doing just enough to claim the last wild card.

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Wednesday, November 8, 2017


Austin Rogers on the 2017 Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions
Austin Rogers

New York, New York
334 correct, 43 incorrect
42.66% in first on buzzer (311/729)
22/27 on Daily Doubles (Net Earned: $109,500)
12/13 in Final Jeopardy
Average Coryat: $18,185
Low-Level Clues, Net: 15.1 per game
High-Level Clues, Net: 6.5 per game

Alan Lin on the 2017 Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions
Alan Lin

Riverside, California
148 correct, 14 incorrect
35.37% in first on buzzer (139/393)
8/11 on Daily Doubles (Net Earned: $18,200)
5/7 in Final Jeopardy
Average Coryat: $15,914
Low-Level Clues, Net: 12.1 per game
High-Level Clues, Net: 6.6 per game

David Clemmons on the 2017 Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions
David Clemmons

Fort Worth, Texas
77 correct, 9 incorrect
32.74% in first on buzzer (74/226)
2/4 on Daily Doubles (Net Earned: $1,000)
4/4 in Final Jeopardy
Average Coryat: $13,900
Low-Level Clues, Net: 11.5 per game
High-Level Clues, Net: 4.5 per game
Prediction: One of the biggest questions going into the Tournament of Champions: will Austin Rogers’ cavalier style of play translate well to the tougher clues often seen on Jeopardy’s biggest stage? Austin’s stellar record in Final Jeopardy should be enough to get him through even if the main game proves more difficult for the prohibitive tournament favorite. Alan, who does better at the bottom of the board than Austin does, should have enough success there to build enough of a bank to grab a wild card into the semifinals.

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Thursday, November 9, 2017


Seth Wilson on the 2017 Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions
Seth Wilson

Nacogdoches, Texas
316 correct, 34 incorrect
41.26% in first on buzzer (295/715)
15/22 on Daily Doubles (Net Earned: $16,300)
9/13 in Final Jeopardy
Average Coryat: $18,077
Low-Level Clues, Net: 14.4 per game
High-Level Clues, Net: 6.9 per game

Lisa Schlitt on the 2017 Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions
Lisa Schlitt

Berwyn, Pennsylvania
151 correct, 19 incorrect
38.40% in first on buzzer (149/388)
7/10 on Daily Doubles (Net Earned: $11,700)
5/7 in Final Jeopardy
Average Coryat: $14,657
Low-Level Clues, Net: 13.9 per game
High-Level Clues, Net: 4.6 per game

Sam Deutsch on the 2017 Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions
Sam Deutsch

Calabasas, California
68 correct, 7 incorrect
29.55% in first on buzzer (65/220)
1/1 on Daily Doubles (Net Earned: $2,000)
4/4 in Final Jeopardy
Average Coryat: $11,200
Low-Level Clues, Net: 9.5 per game
High-Level Clues, Net: 4.8 per game
Prediction: Against two very strong players in Seth and Lisa, I suspect that Sam is going to struggle to get much going in this quarterfinal. Seth is one of the stronger players in this field in terms of knowledge, and was certainly willing to use conservative betting tactics, which will serve him very well in this stage of the tournament. Lisa should be able to get a good score and do well enough to take one of the top two wild card spots.

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Friday, November 10, 2017


Andrew Pau on the 2017 Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions
Andrew Pau

Amherst, Ohio
165 correct, 11 incorrect
37.37% in first on buzzer (148/396)
9/9 on Daily Doubles (Net Earned: $23,800)
4/7 in Final Jeopardy
Average Coryat: $19,943
Low-Level Clues, Net: 13.4 per game
High-Level Clues, Net: 8.4 per game

Justin Vossler on the 2017 Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions
Justin Vossler

Homer, New York
117 correct, 15 incorrect
32.46% in first on buzzer (111/342)
8/10 on Daily Doubles (Net Earned: $11,900)
3/6 in Final Jeopardy
Average Coryat: $15,867
Low-Level Clues, Net: 10.2 per game
High-Level Clues, Net: 6.8 per game

Jon Eisenman on the 2017 Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions
Jon Eisenman

Los Angeles, California
131 correct, 18 incorrect
36.53% in first on buzzer (122/334)
6/11 on Daily Doubles (Net Earned: -$2,700)
4/6 in Final Jeopardy
Average Coryat: $16,133
Low-Level Clues, Net: 12.5 per game
High-Level Clues, Net: 6.0 per game
Prediction: I believe Andrew’s game is suited to the Tournament of Champions more than any other player. He showed an ability to completely dominate a game on the signalling device in his regular run, being the first player since Ken Jennings to run 4 categories in a single game, and his knowledge base should be able to handle tougher ToC clues without difficulty. Justin and Jon will take enough away from each other (and not pick off enough from Andrew) that both are unlikely to advance to the semifinals.

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9 Comments on "2017 Tournament of Champions – Quarterfinal Predictions"

  1. Since the Final Jeopardy! questions play such a large role in determining the wildcards (let alone winners), and the betting strategy for the leaders might alter things (someone in first place with 14000 might not bet anything if the third place player has 6800, regardless of what 2nd place has), I’m going to just guess the leaders going into the Final Jeopardy round, and let Johnny Gilbert in his glory sort ’em all out:

    Monday: Pranjal
    Tuesday: Jason
    Wednesday: Austin
    Thursday: Seth
    Friday: Justin

    As a sidenote, I feel like the fact that contestants are accruing more knowledge of how to play the game might lead to a lot of early Daily Doubles, as people jump around the board. I’m guessing some aggressive Daily Double bets and maybe a game or two where all three contestants are sitting at around 12,000 headed into Final.

    • Cory,

      I find your Friday prediction to be very intriguing.

      • If I were gambling, I don’t think I’d make the bet. Andrew’s awesome and I would say, for me, one of my Top 5 most likely to win. But I feel like I can’t only go by advanced statistics, right? Consider this my “12 seed upsets the 5 seed” pick. One happens every year.

        Speaking of which, my top 5 most likely to win it all, which probably isn’t too different from yours:
        Pranjal
        Jason
        Austin
        Andrew
        Seth

  2. My predictions:
    Monday- Pranjal Vachaspati
    Tuesday- Jason Sterlacci
    Wednesday- Austin Rogers
    Thursday- Seth Wilson
    Friday- Andrew Pau

    Wild Cards: Hunter Appler, Lilly Chin, Alan Lin, David Clemmons

    Andrew Pau wins the finals over Seth and Austin

    • Interesting thought on the finals composition. The only way that happens is if Buzzy does not advance to the semifinals, I figure. If Andrew, Buzzy, Seth, and Austin are all semifinalists, my guess will be that Austin, Seth, and Buzzy will headline each semifinal, as it were, which means Andrew has to play either Seth or Austin (he can’t play Buzzy until the final as the show keeps apart contestants in the ToC who have been together in the Green Room before.)

  3. It’s true that Austin had a stellar record on FJ’s, but most of those FJ’s were pretty easy (as measured by how they polled on the J! board). I wouldn’t assume he’ll be as automatic on the tougher FJ’s that we’ll probably see in most of the TOC matches.

    • In my opinion, the JBoard Final Jeopardy! polls have reached a point where I believe it to be unrepresentative of the general difficulty of Final Jeopardy! clues, as I believe that the respondents of the poll are in the upper percentiles in terms of general show performance, and even a clue that would have polled in the single digits in a poll a few years ago would now poll much higher now on JBoard.

      • That may be true, but I think it’s reasonable to conclude that in general, a clue that polls in the 80s or 90s (percentile-wise) on J! board is easier than one that polls, say, in the 20s. If a clue is challenging to even the upper-percentile types on the board, that’s an indication that it’s more difficult than clues that most boardies solve successfully.

        • But I’m saying that because of the current composition of the poll voters, an FJ that would poll at 80% in the general population and an FJ that would poll at 65% in the general population, will still poll at 85-90% on JBoard, because there will always be a small number that miss a clue for whatever reason, and most of the respondents are now of a playing level that they able all able still to get that 65%er, thus making it seem like an 80%er, thus causing people to assume that FJs are, as a whole, easier, when they are truly not.

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