For the last few seasons, I’ve been particularly interested in the trend of rising scores in NCAA, which is a relevant issue considering that the average team score for the top 36 teams in the country increased four tenths from 2012 to 2013 (from 195.406 in 2012 to 195.802 in 2013). That’s almost a fall worth of increase per team per meet, which is fairly insane. Were teams really a fall better in 2013 than in 2012? No. The evaluation of routines is clearly getting more lenient across the board. Now that the 2014 season is over, it’s time to revisit the topic following a year in which scores appeared to increase another notch with all the 10s and 198s we saw. Here are the average scores for the NCAA top 36 from 1999-2014:
And here’s the same information, but limited to just the span from 2006-2014 to zero in on recent trends.
The results are somewhat interesting for 2014 because while the scores did increase over last season, just as anyone who watched this year would have guessed, the overall increase is not particularly large. Now, those of us who have been following the scores closely would certainly argue that the mega-scoring we saw this season is only part of a trend that began in earnest last season, which is reinforced by the numbers, with 2014 seeing another jump over 2013 and coming in as the second-highest scoring season in NCAA history behind 2004.
But, the increase is perhaps surprising in its smallness. In fact, the increase from 195.802 in 2013 to 195.861 in 2014 comes out to only .059, or just a little bit more than one step per meet per team, which is notable but not exceptionally significant in the grand scheme of meet scoring. It’s certainly not the full four tenths leap we saw the previous year. So, why is that? We saw more 198s in 2014 than in 2013, and way more 197s, and the general perception is that scores skyrocketed this season and showed a clear departure even over the high scores of the previous season. What’s the deal? Well, the deal becomes somewhat more clear if we break down the top 36 into manageable chunks. Here are the average scores for only the top 12 teams from 1999-2014:
Compare this to the average scores for the teams ranked 13-36 over the same years.
We all know that the Parity Parrots like to pat themselves on the back for their work to increase parity in NCAA, but there are different types of parity. This year, we certainly saw evidence of parity at the very top of the sport manifested in our most competitive Super Six, but beyond that, the gap between the very best teams and everyone else actually increased in 2014 rather than decreased. The “others” were farther away from being able to challenge the best teams this season than in 2013.
- Also, in non-numerical news, Silvia Colussi-Pelaez is transferring from Florida to Oregon State for the upcoming season, which is exciting news for the Beavs. They’ve had a rough couple years, and she could contribute on as many as four events for them with some 9.8s. Conversely, she wasn’t making any lineups at Florida, and given the quality of the incoming classes, didn’t look to be making many lineups in the future. Also, as it has been discussed that Alex McMurtry is planning to come early, something was going to have to give in the scholarship-count department. Silvia’s sister, Mariana, will also be joining Oregon State the following season. Now Tanya, put that transverse aerial back in her beam routine. You know you want to.