The Balance Beam Situation

Because gymnastics is a comedy, not a drama

NCAA Week 6 – Schedule and Links

 

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

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

*Meets marked ESPN3 may be streamed on the WatchESPN app for those who have a participating ISP.

*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.

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


Marquee Meet

[9] Alabama @ [5] Florida

Florida returns home for the first time since “the incident” against Oklahoma, and this being Florida, at home, with the way scores are trending, all signs point to a big number. How surprised will you be if multiple 10s are not awarded at this meet? All the surprised? Correct.

For everyone who isn’t Florida, the big story in this meet is Alabama. We’re still early in the season, but Alabama’s lineups—and ranking—are becoming a significant quandary, particularly on vault where Alabama is ranked 24th and has yet to break 49.025 despite having the potential for a majority-lineup of 10.0 starts. It would be very Dana Duckworth to wait to be good on vault until mid-March, but right now this lineup looks far from that point, and without too many obvious upgrades in sight. It’s going to be nearly impossible for Alabama to contend without significant vault improvements, in both difficulty and landings, so watch for progress on that front.

Getting Childers back in the all-around should help bump the floor lineup closer to a postseason-style group, and bars and beam have looked the fuller and more competitive events so far, meaning Alabama should be closer to Florida there. But while the current beam six is a stylish and nationally up-to-level group capable of 9.9s, the absence of Key is a lingering cloud. This roster was designed with Star Bailie Key as a major point of reliance on all events, and it’s difficult to see Alabama reaching its championship potential without contributions from her.

 

Florida is the clear favorite here, but Alabama will very much be looking to use this opportunity to hit 197 again, record a strong road score, and show that the power-event gap is not unsustainably large compared to a team like Florida.

In terms of the Gators, we have seen two botched beam rotations in the last three meets, so while I’m inclined to chalk that up as “one of those things,” usual midyear nonsense, it’s worth keeping an eye on. Also interesting is Kennedy Baker’s absence from the lineup. Florida is deep enough, particularly on this event, that Baker does not necessarily need to go on beam in order for the team to be successful—there are six other believable 9.9s on this team—but it is a big decision to sit someone with her scoring potential.

These lineups don’t have an aura of finality yet. Is Baumann a top-6 vaulter? What of the Skaggs 1.5? Is Hundley making floor? Is she upgrading? Is the Slocum double layout happening? Questions. Foberg sat out the last meet, so if she comes back into a few lineups, that should give us some answers about where everyone stands in Florida’s biggest (and likely most competitive) remaining meet until SECs.


Georgia @ Kentucky
Auburn @ Arkansas

Besides knowing that LSU and Florida are the top two teams, the SEC balance of power is still very ill-defined at this point. Once the bad scores can be dropped (RQS begins two weeks from Monday), there will be precious little separating the 3-7 teams from each other in this next tier of conference rankings.

This weekend will be revealing as to where that power might ultimately rest. In addition to both meets looking pretty 50/50 in terms of result, there are some significant score implications.  Georgia has solid home scores but rather tepid road totals. Without three strong road scores (in four remaining road meets), Georgia will be left behind by the others. Auburn competes twice this weekend, both times on the road, and two hits would ensure that the team can drop that first-meet 193 once RQS begins and move back up into a competitive position with the others.


 

Minnesota is back
Lexy Ramler is the best all-arounder you haven’t watched yet this season, and Minnesota has already hit 196 twice this year (after doing so three times all of last season). During the back-and-forth SEC furor, don’t forget about Illinois’s visit to Minnesota, where the balance has shifted this season and Minnesota is now the favorite.

 

Michigan without Karas
With Olivia Karas out for the season, Michigan is down a top score on all four events. This will be the first opportunity to gauge how top-6 competitive the team looks now.

Denver’s bars
Miracle of miracles, we can actually watch a Denver home meet this weekend (kind of). If bars is a hit this time, things could get real because the scores on the other events are there and have been there. Even when counting falls on bars, Denver has been flirting with it’s all time scores so far this season in meets that would have ranked among the three or four best in program history with full hits.

Is Cal…OK?
So far this year, one of the most surprisingly ranked schools has been Cal, a team that has Williams back and an exciting freshman class yet is languishing in 29th without a 196 to its name. This team is way better than that and has no business being ranked last in the conference, so we’ll see if a high profile contest against a surging UCLA team brings the type of mid-196 score Cal should be getting at this point in the year.

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