The Balance Beam Situation

Because gymnastics is a comedy, not a drama

NCAA Week 2 – Schedule and Links

 

Thursday, January 11 Scores Stream
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – Southern Utah @ Boise State FREE
Friday, January 12 Scores Stream
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [1] LSU @ [7] Florida LINK SECN
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [21] NC State @ North Carolina
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – UW-Whitewater @ UW-Eau Claire LINK
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – UW-Stout @ UW-Oshkosh
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – [10] Arizona @ [12] Iowa State LINK ISU($)
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – Illinois State @ SEMO LINK
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – Gustavus Adolphus @ UW-La Crosse
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [6] Kentucky @ [11] Arkansas LINK SEC+
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Missouri @ [23] Auburn  LINK SEC+
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Lindenwood @ TWU LINK  FREE
8:30 ET/5:30 PT – Georgia @ [9] Alabama  LINK SECN
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – Cal @ [17] BYU LINK FREE
10:00 ET/7:00 PT – Washington @ Sacramento State LINK
10:00 ET/7:00 PT – UC Davis @ Seattle Pacific LINK FREE
11:00 ET/8:00 PT – Cortland @ Alaska LINK FREE
Saturday, January 13 Scores Stream
1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Illinois, Yale, Southern Connecticut @ Rutgers LINK
1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Ursinus, Ithaca, Springfield @ West Chester
2:00 ET/11:00 PT – Utah State @ [22] Bowling Green
4:00 ET/1:00 PT – Nebraska @ [17] Penn State LINK BTN+
FLO
5:00 ET/2:00 PT – [20] Maryland, Northern Illinois, Winona State @ Minnesota LINK BTN+
FLO
5:00 ET/2:00 PT – Bridgeport @ [19] New Hampshire  LINK  FREE
6:00 ET/3:00 PT – Ohio State @ [5] Michigan LINK ESPNU
6:00 ET/3:00 PT – Oregon State @ Pittsburgh  LINK ACC+
6:00 ET/3:00 PT – [3] Central Michigan @ Eastern Michigan LINK EMU($)
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Iowa @ Michigan State  LINK BTN+
FLO
Sunday, January 14 Scores Stream
12:00 ET/9:00 PT – Brown, Brockport @ Rhode Island
1:00 ET/10:00 PT – [14] Arizona State @ [16] West Virginia LINK FREE
1:00 ET/10:00 PT – [15] Ball State, Penn, Cornell @ [25] George Washington LINK GW($)
1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Centenary @ Kent State
1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Illinois-Chicago @ Western Michigan
2:00 ET/11:00 PT – [13] Temple, William & Mary @ [24] Towson FREE
2:00 ET/11:00 PT – UW-Whitewater @ Hamline
4:00 ET/1:00 PT – Air Force @ [8] Denver LINK DU($)
5:00 ET/2:00 PT – [2] Utah, [4] UCLA, Washington, Stanford (@ Reno, NV) FLO
6:00 ET/3:00 PT – Cortland @ Alaska LINK FREE
Monday, January 15 Scores Stream
2:00 ET/11:00 PT – Oklahoma @ Georgia LINK SEC+
5:00 ET/2:00 PT – Lindenwood @ SEMO LINK

*Meets marked ESPNU or SECN will be broadcast live on TV and may also be streamed online for those who have cable-subscriber log-ins or subscriptions to participating Sling, Roku whatnots.

*Meets marked SECN+ or ACC+ may be streamed on the WatchESPN app for those who have cable-subscriber log-ins or subscriptions to participating Sling, Roku whatnots.

*Meets marked BTN+/FLO may be streamed either through a paid subscription to BTN+ ($10/month) or a paid subscription to FloGymnastics ($30/month).

*Meets marked [School]$ are streamed through school-specific services and require a subscription to that school’s web streaming, which you won’t buy, so you can’t watch them.

*Meets marked FREE are streamed through school-specific services and require no log-in or subscription fee.


Marquee meet

[1] LSU @ [7] Florida

Sorry Georgia/Alabama, but times have changed. There’s a new marquee meet in town. It’s a shame this one falls so early in the season as it’s the most significant SEC meet we’ll see until the SEC Championship, yet will feature more Januaryness than we would prefer from such a high-profile contest. Because it’s January. Also because last weekend wasn’t awesome.

The pressure is on Florida to come back from that sluggish opening-meet tragedy, particularly as the home team—as well as the one ranked higher in the preseason polls. A non-cramped Kennedy Baker should help matters, but Florida also needs a higher level out of Amelia Hundley in that leadoff beam and floor role to build scores that will be aching to be built. At home, in a significant conference match-up, expect to see a Florida team that looks significantly stronger than the one that limped out of West Virginia last weekend.

For LSU, the excellent bars rotation from last weekend papered over some struggles on the other events, and the Tigers will not be able to get away with one good rotation again. Of note, LSU hit just a single 10.0-start vault in that first meet. Against a Florida team that expects to bring four, LSU needs more than Sarah Edwards. A hit from Hambrick and Edney/Harrold back in the lineup—that’s what it will take. Vault is especially important because LSU can’t necessarily depend on outscoring Florida on floor (Home Floor, let’s be honest about these things), meaning an early lead will be paramount.

Although if you recall 2016, the last time LSU visited Florida (also the last time Florida lost at home), Bridgey Caquatto needed a 9.950 on floor for the win and we were all like, “Obviously she’s going to get exactly 9.950 because duh and Florida,” and then she got 9.900, LSU won 197.900-197.875, and we all went, “Buh-whaaaaa?” So, you never know.

Also, 197.900-197.875. Yeah. This meet will give us a valuable indication of just how crazy scoring may or may not get this season. I mean, LSU vs. Florida at Florida. Come on. A crack convention might as well be rolling into town.


Also…Pretty Good…Meets

 Georgia @ [9] Alabama 

This match-up may not have the zest it once did, but it’s still Georgia and Alabama. If you’re not aggressively looking forward to hearing the Alabama crowd when Suzanne is introduced, then we have nothing in common. It’s basically the whole point of this meet.

Also, if you’re new, you need to watch this. And remember that this is basically the milquetoast, sanitized telling of this story, where they cut out all the…murders probably?

Anyway, what’s gymnastics? I don’t know. Georgia is depleted on vault and bars and will have a tough time at this point in the season keeping pace with Alabama (even if Alabama still isn’t at full force). If Oakley is ready on bars, that would help Georgia quite a bit, but still expect some 9.7s early in most of the lineups. Alabama had quite a few of its own 9.7s in the last meet, making the Tide seem slightly more vulnerable here than we would have expected going into the season. Still, Alabama is poised as the favorite in this one and should have an edge on each piece. Georgia’s way in would be if Alabama is still struggling just as much with endurance on floor.

Injury news: Gracie Cherrey (Georgia – Junior) has medically retired.



[2] Utah, [4] UCLA, Washington, Stanford (@ Reno, NV)

This marks the first edition of the expanded Elevate the Stage series, pitting some pretty exciting Pac-12 teams against one another. Getting these meets to happen is what Kayla Williams does now, in case you were curious, so claps for that. It’s on podium (we’re elevating the stage), so expect to hear a lot about how nationals is also on podium, and Pac-12 teams don’t have as many opportunities to prepare on podium, and this is a really valuable learning experience, blah blah blah. At least, the teams that lose will talk a lot about that.

Theoretically, Utah and UCLA should be pretty evenly matched at this point in the season, a contest that could go either way as long as UCLA hits some vaults. Across four events, Utah looked the more prepared and more comfortable in the first week, but we’ll see if UCLA performs with less tentativeness on beam after getting one meet out of the way, an event that should be an advantage for the Bruins. I’m also interested in whether UCLA gets scared off by the Kramer/Hall vaults from the first meet (the rest of us sure were), or keeps going for them. It will probably depend on how training looks on the podium.

Stanford was pretty Stanford in its season debut, but a more hopeful version of Stanford because so many freshmen got into lineups and were semi-prepared to compete. Miracle of miracles. If it weren’t for bars (where the Cardinal showed just five routine with two falls), Stanford could be a spoiler here. But as is, the goal will simply be to improve on Monday’s showing, particularly on vault, where the team should be much stronger than the 9.6s we saw. On paper, this is a better Stanford vault roster than we’ve seen for a number of years.

The story for Washington, in its first weekend of the season, will also be ensuring that full lineups are able to go out on each piece and put up a competitive baseline score. Spring/summer/preseason injuries for Burleson, Goings, and Rose (and no freshman help) mean that Washington is probably looking to work its way into the season and into competitive shape. We saw just four vaults at the December intrasquad, so let’s beat that total.

Injury news: Jennifer Oh (Washington – Freshman) has medically retired and is now a team manager.


 Oklahoma @ Georgia 

It’s a busy opening weekend for Georgia, the underdog in back-to-back meets, which is not exactly a fun way to begin. With Georgia’s relative depletion and Oklahoma’s being Oklahoma, this meet shouldn’t be all too competitive, but it will be an opportunity to assess Oklahoma for the first time and see who is actually making lineups. The big unknowns for Oklahoma are Showers and Webb. The team will rely on both this season, and we’ll understand much more about what to expect based on their debuts.

The Sooners make a habit of starting well and looking prepared from the first meet of the season (like dorks), which should continue this year because they’ve had so much time to get ready for this first performance. It’s been 80 months. Oklahoma will view last weekend’s top-score 197.150 as a very beatable mark for the first meet.


 

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