The Balance Beam Situation

Because gymnastics is a comedy, not a drama

NCAA Week 3 – Schedule and Links

 

Friday, January 19 Scores Stream
1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Southern Utah @ [20] BYU LINK FREE
6:00 ET/3:00 PT – Eastern Michigan @ Bowling Green  LINK
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [18] Auburn @ [13] Georgia  LINK  SEC+
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [6] Florida @ [6] Kentucky  LINK  SECN
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Penn State @ Maryland BTN+
FLO
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Temple @ North Carolina   ACC+
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Nothern Illinois @ [24] Kent State  LINK  FREE
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – UW-Eau Claire @ UW-Stout  LINK  FREE
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – UW-La Crosse @ Hamline
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – UW-Oshkosh @ Winona State  FREE
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [4] Michigan @ [23] Illinois  LINK  BTN+
FLO
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [11] Arkansas @ Missouri  LINK  SEC+
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Ohio State @ Iowa  LINK BTN+
FLO
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Centenary, Alaska @ Lindenwood  LINK  LU($)
8:30 ET/5:30 PT – [10] Alabama @ [2] LSU  LINK  SECN
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – Oregon State @ [3] Utah LINK  P12N
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – [8] Denver, Illinois-Chicago, Seattle Pacific @ [9] Boise State  LINK  FREE
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – Sacramento State, San Jose State @ Utah State  LINK  FREE
Saturday, January 20 Scores Stream
1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Penn @ Yale  Ivy($)
1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Springfield @ Rhode Island  FREE
2:00 ET/11:00 PT – Western Michigan @ [16] Central Michigan  LINK  ESPN3
2:00 ET/11:00 PT – New Hampshire @ Pittsburgh  LINK  ACC+
3:30 ET/12:30 PT – [25] Cal @ [15] Washington  LINK  P12N
4:00 ET/1:00 PT – Ball State, William & Mary @ NC State  LINK  ACC+
5:00 ET/2:00 PT – [12] Arizona State @ [22] Stanford  P12+
5:00 ET/2:00 PT – Michigan State @ Minnesota  LINK  BTN+
FLO
5:00 ET/2:00 PT – Gustavus Adolphus @ UW-Whitewater  LINK  FREE
6:00 ET/3:00 PT – [5] UCLA @ [19] Arizona  LINK  P12+
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Rutgers @ [14] Nebraska  LINK  UN($)
Sunday, January 21 Scores Stream
11:00 ET/8:00 PT – Cornell, Southern Connecticut @ Cortland
1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Brown @ Bridgeport
1:00 ET/10:00 PT – West Chester @ Ursinus
2:00 ET/11:00 PT – George Washington, Towson @ [20] West Virginia  LINK  FREE
3:00 ET/12:00 PT – Alaska @ Illinois State  FREE
3:00 ET/12:00 PT – Brockport @ Ithaca
4:00 ET/1:00 PT – [17] Iowa State, TWU @ [1] Oklahoma

*Meets marked SECN or P12N 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 P12+ may be streamed through the Pac-12 Network website or app and do not require a corresponding subscription.

*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

[10] Alabama @ [2] LSU


For as much as there can be pressure in the third week of the season, the pressure is on Alabama. Not so much to win—LSU is expected to take this meet, and a loss wouldn’t be a particularly wound-licking result for Alabama—but to put up a complete meet for the first time. Alabama is the only team among the big guns not to have hit a 197 in the first two weeks, which is revealed by the very un-Alabama ranking of 10th.

The Tide showed a number of positive signs in the most recent meet and would have broken 197 if not for Vault-Flag-Gate, so the mission will largely be to repeat that progress but add a hit vault rotation this time. Still, with several injuries right now, some uncertainty with 10.0 starts on vault, and only a smidge of the intended floor difficulty currently added in, it will be difficult to measure up to LSU when the routines are set back-to-back. It should still be close—a hit meet from Alabama would be within a fall of LSU—but the Tigers are the favorite here. It will also be revealing to see what a “let’s go for it v. LSU!” lineup actually looks like for Alabama at this point, especially when it comes to Key and Ernst on beam.

For LSU, this also presents a chance to see how lineups are progressing. Of note, Harrold competed only floor last week and hasn’t vaulted yet this season. By March/April, she’ll be needed on three events. I’ll also be watching to see what’s happening with that Kirby/Macadaeg/Edwards-ish first half of the floor lineup. At the end of the year, the goal will probably be to have Priessman and Desiderio in there, but where are we right now?


What else?

Georgia hosts Auburn – Both teams have had a bad one and a good one so far, leaving some degree of uncertainty about how terrifying things are. (Besides being 10 out of 10 constantly.) Don’t they know we need consistent narratives around here?!?! We’ll see, with a week more of training, whether Georgia has been able to muster some sixth routines—even if they’re bad—just to give the lineups a little margin. Even if it’s a Yurchenko layout for 9.450, that’s better than a fall or a zero.

Florida and Kentucky – The current rankings say that this is a meet of exact equals, to which Florida will reply, “Pish and humbug! This will never do!” After a weak performance, followed by a fine performance but a loss at home, Florida will be looking for a statement meet and big road win. All eyes on Rachel Slocum to see if she has resolved her vault.

Is Michigan a big girl? – Preseason expectations consisted of a Big 6 (the Super Six from last season), a noticeable gap, and then the rest of the contenders. Michigan’s 197.550 last week was the kind of score that disrupts those expectations, but let’s see if that level can be maintained on the road for the first time.

Oregon State – The Beavs have started slowly, recording a 194 at an (admittedly oddly scored) meet at Pittsburgh. A visit to Utah is a tough matchup that Oregon State will not be expected to win, but it should provide a looser score-scape and therefore an opportunity for OSU to pump up that ranking and show whether this truly is going to be an off year or not.

Battle Cool Underdog – Denver or Boise State? This NCAA gymnastics ain’t big enough for the two of you. The #8 and #9 teams go up against each other Friday evening in what should be one of the more “I don’t already know who’s going to win” meets of the weekend. Denver has the higher score so far this season with 196.800, but Boise State gets to host this one. Don’t forget about it while you’re recovering from SEC fatigue.

The Pac-12 hierarchy – Beyond Utah and UCLA at the top, the Pac-12 is in a tremendous state of flux at the moment—beginning the last couple years with the rise of Cal, then Washington, and compounded this season with even Arizona State starting to turn good. At this point, you really feel like those lower-six teams could end up in any order on any given day. We’re a long way off from caring about who makes which session at Pac-12s, but this Saturday’s conference meets (Cal/Washington, Arizona State/Stanford) provide some juicy head-to-heads that might reveal which team is better right now.


Lineups

Auburn is planning to get Meredith Sylvia into the real beam lineup this week and debut Skyler Sheppard (transfer from Arizona) in the floor lineup.

Denver‘s tentative lineups do not include Emily Glynn after she was pulled from floor last week with a knee issue in the warmups. Denver is expecting to free-Georgia it with five on VT, UB, and FX.

Arizona is without Jenny Leung and will be adding Courtney Cowles into the vault lineup to have six competitors.

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