|Friday, March 2||Scores||Stream
|7:00 ET/4:00 PT –  Ohio State @  Kentucky||LINK||SEC+|
|7:00 ET/4:00 PT – New Hampshire @  NC State||LINK||ACC+|
|7:00 ET/4:00 PT –  George Washington, Rutgers @ Towson||LINK||FREE|
|7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Temple, Penn, Yale @ Maryland||LINK||BTN+
|7:30 ET/4:30 PT –  Nebraska,  Georgia, Illinois, Stanford (@ Augusta, GA)||“LINK”||FLO|
|8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Nastia Liukin Pink Pink Pink It’s Not Awkward Now Championship||LINK||NBC|
|8:00 ET/5:00 PT –  Florida @  Missouri||LINK||SEC+|
|8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Arizona @  Arkansas||LINK|
|8:00 ET/5:00 PT – SEMO @ Iowa||BTN+
|8:30 ET/5:30 PT – North Carolina @  Alabama||LINK||SEC+|
|9:00 ET/6:00 PT – Sacramento State @  Boise State||LINK||FREE|
|9:00 ET/6:00 PT –  BYU @ Utah State||FREE|
|10:00 ET/7:00 PT – Central Michigan @  Cal||LINK|
|10:00 ET/7:00 PT – Air Force @ UC Davis||LINK||FREE|
|Saturday, March 3||Scores||Stream
|11:30 ET/8:30 PT – The [We Have No Money Left] American Cup||LINK||NBC|
|12:00 ET/9:00 PT – Springfield @ Cornell||Ivy($)|
|1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Rhode Island @ Ursinus|
|1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Ithaca @ Cortland||FREE|
|3:00 ET/12:00 PT –  Washington @ Southern Utah||LINK||FREE|
|3:00 ET/12:00 PT – West Chester @ William & Mary||LINK||FREE|
|5:00 ET/2:00 PT –  Michigan @  Oklahoma||LINK||FSGo|
|5:00 ET/2:00 PT –  Arizona State @  Minnesota||LINK||BTN+
|Sunday, March 4||Scores||Stream
|1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Maryland, Rutgers, Towson @  George Washington||LINK||GW($)|
|1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Eastern Michigan @ Ball State||LINK||FREE|
|1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Bridgeport, Brockport, Southern Connecticut @ Brown|
|2:00 ET/11:00 PT – West Virginia, Penn State @ Pittsburgh||LINK||ACC+|
|3:00 ET/12:00 PT –  UCLA,  Iowa State, Kent State @  Nebraska||LINK||FREE|
|3:00 ET/12:00 PT – Western Michigan @ Northern Illinois||LINK||ESPN3|
|3:00 ET/12:00 PT – Michigan State @ Illinois-Chicago||LINK|
|3:00 ET/12:00 PT – Iowa @ TWU||LINK||FREE|
|3:00 ET/12:00 PT – Centenary @ Illinois State||FREE|
|3:00 ET/12:00 PT – DIII West Regional (@ St. Peter, MN)||LINK||FREE|
|3:00 ET/12:00 PT – West Chester @ William & Mary||LINK||FREE|
|3:30 ET/12:30 PT –  Auburn @  LSU||LINK||SECN|
|5:00 ET/2:00 PT – Lindenwood, Bowling Green @ Illinois||LINK||BTN+
|5:00 ET/2:00 PT – Central Michigan, Seattle Pacific, Air Force @ San Jose State||LINK|
|Monday, March 5||Scores||Stream
|9:00 ET/6:00 PT – Southern Utah @  Denver||LINK||DU($)|
|10:00 ET/7:00 PT –  BYU @  Oregon State||LINK||P12N|
*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 SEC+ 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 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.
Our lone top-10 clash this weekend will be an American Cup palate cleanser (probably) (but I mean come on), as a still-depleted Michigan heads to Oklahoma in the hope of snatching a big away score. Oklahoma is certainly the heavy favorite here, but Michigan nonetheless has some important milestones to reach, in particular looking to snatch a 197 road score for the first time this season.
Right now, Michigan sits in its usual spot in that 6-7 ranking zone, which typically produces a good regional. As long as the road scores remain stuck in the mid-196s, however, Michigan will be vulnerable to other teams that have also reached 197 territory at home and have a chance to pass. Because very dangerous teams like Cal, Nebraska, and Georgia are still hanging out in the #3 seed area, regional positioning becomes all the more important. The best bet is to be paired with the weakest-ranked #3 seed, which goes to the 6-7 regional, so staying at #7 is not an insignificant goal for Michigan.
The biggest obstacle in Michigan’s road 197 quest will be vault, where there’s a tendency for the first three vaulters to be very 9.7y. That can put a lot more pressure on the other three events to do the heavy lifting, so watch those scores. If Michigan is getting 9.800+ for the first three vaults, there’s no reason this shouldn’t be a 197 day, as long as everyone hits floor. Oh sweet heavens floor. Townsend is starting to come into her own as a floor worker at just the right time, so Michigan should be able to survive using the scores from McLean, Brown, Funk, Townsend, and Zaziski (Farley?), but you worry about the sixth routine, especially if it’s one of Zaziski’s bad days and that score has to count.
Oklahoma would love another 198 here (obviously) to keep up the quest for a record RQS, and there’s no reason that can’t again happen since it has already happened four times this season. Other than that, watch the vault and floor lineups. Operation Six 10.0 Vaults was supposed to include Degouveia (out with plantar fasciitis) and a 1.5 from Schoepfer, but if those aren’t options, Oklahoma still has to resolve who the best fulls are to start out the rotation. And by that, I mean it’s Showers and Lehrmann.
Last week, Lehrmann also proved herself as the best backup option to use on floor, but keep watching that floor lineup in the coming weeks to see if Natalie Brown can get in and get into form because Oklahoma is down to a very specific six that need to be competing for the team to be at its best on floor.
Elevate The Scores
We have a fascinating little dynamic brewing at the Elevate the Stage meet this Friday, the most important meet of the day in the absence of any of the high-profile SEC contests we usually expect (stupid basketball…).
Nebraska, Georgia, Stanford, and Illinois provide a pretty even level of ability—expect Nebraska and Georgia to fight each other hoping for 197s, while Stanford and Illinois fight each other hoping for 196s—all four teams desperately needing some road scores from this meet.
The highest road score for any of these teams so far this year actually belongs to Illinois, the lowest-ranked, but even that’s just a 196.350. Georgia and Nebraska will not have awesome arguments for getting into the top 12 (the #2 seed range) if they’re starting to count 196.1 road scores. Nebraska didn’t make it into the top 12 last season, and that was with road scores in the 196.5s and 196.6s. So, both teams are starting to look fairly desperate for a big number, adding some real urgency to this meet.
Speaking of urgency, Illinois. Illinois is currently ranked in the danger zone in 33rd and absolutely does not have the scores to consider making regionals a done deal. For RQS, Illinois is currently using a 195.400, a 195.325, and two 195.100s, none of which are going to help a team stay above the drop zone. Last year, the regionals cutoff was 195.420, and it’s going to be higher this year, probably 195.6s or 195.7s. Therefore those 195.1s aren’t going to get it done. Illinois needs to erase them and do it immediately in this two-meet weekend.
Stanford is now already guaranteed to use a 195.6 for RQS, which is a fairly dangerous score. The team does have enough mid-195s already that staying in the 19-36 zone for regionals seems likely, though definitely not guaranteed. Even so, is finishing in the 30s really a victory? Stanford should have higher hopes than that and absolutely shouldn’t be counting any more of these mid-195s. If it weren’t for bars, Stanford would be ranked in the teens. But bars exists, so…
We’re getting into crunch time in DIII. This weekend, the 8 western schools (the five UW teams—La Crosse, Whitewater, Oshkosh, Stout, and Eau Claire—along with Winona State, Hamline, and Gustavus Adolphus) will compete at regionals, with the top three teams advancing to the DIII team final.
The heavy favorites are once again La Crosse and Whitewater, who are well out ahead of the rest of the teams and really should qualify and do so pretty comfortably. If this were national semifinals, they’re Oklahoma and Florida, and then everyone else is like Oregon State and Nebraska and Georgia—sort of at a similar level and we really don’t know who’s going to get through. (Except for Gustavus Adolphus, which is like Gustavus Adolphus. We love them, but they’re not going to advance.) There’s one spot for about five schools, and it’s very much an any-given-day situation.
If you’re so inclined, it should be a fun one. Unfortunately, they’ve managed to schedule the competition at the same time as the Nebraska quad featuring UCLA and the LSU/Auburn meet, so none of us are going to watch, but still!
Danger zone watch – Arizona
Arizona may have been able to drop that infamous 145 to get back up to 36th in the rankings this week, but that’s still just 36th, the final advancing position. Arizona is already counting a 195.025 road score and is in danger of starting to count 194s if this week’s visit to Arkansas doesn’t prove fruitful. Those are not regionals-qualifying totals, and Arizona is going to be in severe trouble if Friday’s meet doesn’t produce at least a mid-195.
The NCAA world clashes with the elite world and the future-NCAA world this weekend, so basically just stay in bed for three days. You won’t mind.
The Nastia Cup serves as your official NCAA preview, so here’s a list of next season’s new NCAAers who will be competing at the Nastia Cup, just in case you want to decide how 9.825y they are in advance.
Those are the ones who will be competing in the 2019 season. We also have some who will be competing in the 2020 season:
Others competitors have verbally committed for future years, but I don’t recognize verbal commitments before the junior year of high school. So no, they’re not.