Florida @  Oklahoma
Friday, 7:00 CT, Fox College Sports Pacific (real channel?)
Florida and Oklahoma—the most important meet of the season…until whatever’s next week. This is Oklahoma’s first true challenge of the now-teenage 2019 season, the first meet the Sooners enter where it’s a conceivable possibility that they might lose. Oklahoma is still the favorite, but we know Florida is capable of its own high 197 and did defeat Oklahoma in the 198-a-thon these two teams engaged in last year (albeit at home with Carol) (also, At Home with Carol is a YouTube series I need).
Based on what we’ve seen so far, this thing is most likely to hinge on vault. Though Oklahoma’s vault landings the last couple weeks have been a little more lunge-y than the team would hope moving forward, Oklahoma is capable of putting out 5-6 10.0 starts that will all score 9.850 and above right now, with the potential for a couple 9.950s. Meanwhile, vault has been Florida’s weakness through the first month of the season. A competitive number of 10.0 starts should be there for the Gators eventually, but a lack of control on the landings so far has Florida scoring in the 49.0s.
If that standard continues, Oklahoma will build up a four or five tenth lead exclusively because of vault, which would be very tough for Florida to make up on the other events. For its part, Florida will hope to get Nya Reed back in the lineup this week to lift that difficulty but will also have an interesting decision to make regarding Schoenherr, who has missed her 1.5 twice in three meets. Does Florida sub in one of its small army of Yfulls than can score a safe 9.800, or does it take the risk and continue going with Schoenherr? Of course, I say keep her in the lineup—Florida needs that vault to stay with a team like Oklahoma and will need that vault to be in form by the postseason—but if it seems like it’s going to be a fall…
If Florida can get 4-5 10.0 starts in there and step up those landings to keep vault within a tenth or two, the Gators will have a chance at the upset. That’s because Florida is one of the few teams capable of matching—or outscoring—Oklahoma on bars and beam. Both teams are going to be targeting 49.5s on those events and one lineup hasn’t looked clearly stronger than the other.
For Oklahoma, we’ll see if the occasion of Florida coming to town brings back Maggie Nichols on all four events. Nichols missed week 3 entirely and was limited to bars and beam in week 4 with a bruised heel, but she does seem to be inching her way back and it would be unsurprising to see Nichols on all the events tomorrow. As we learned from the meet she missed, Nichols’ presence is necessary for Oklahoma to reach its full 9.950iness on vault and to be six strong on floor. Continue reading NCAA Week 5 Preview