Regionals Preview Part 2: Georgia Regional

Play-in: April 4, 3:00 ET
Semifinal #1: April 5, 2:00 ET
Semifinal #2: April 5, 7:00 ET
Regional Final: April 6, 7:00 ET

Qualification procedure: The winner of the play-in advances to semifinal #2; the top 2 teams at each semifinal advance to the regional final; the top 2 teams at the regional final advance to nationals; the top all-around gymnast and top gymnast on each event on April 5 (who are not part of a team that ultimately qualifies) advance to nationals as individuals.


Semifinal #1

[8] Georgia, [9] Kentucky, [19] Missouri, [22] Iowa State

This should be among the best semifinals in the nation because of the parity across the four teams, with Missouri and Iowa State as two the most dangerous geographically placed teams. No one is simply making up the numbers here, and all four schools have gone at least 196.700 this season. In general, that’s the kind of score that should qualify out of these more difficult first semifinals. They’ll all look to that goal and say, “Well, we’ve done it before.”

Still, Georgia and Kentucky are definite favorites to advance to the regional final. Georgia has found it pretty comfortable to score over 197 at home this season, and even with a meh-at-times performance at SECs, Georgia still managed to reach the 197 mark, which will be good enough to advance from this semifinal. That 197 is also the mark Kentucky will aim for, having displayed the ability to hit 197s both home and away this season.

Hope for the unseeded schools will come in the form of Kentucky’s fall-counting performance at SECs for a total of 196.225 (a score that really shouldn’t advance from a semifinal but probably will in a few places) after a debacle on floor. In the score comparison below, the one place Missouri has an edge on Kentucky this season is in floor consistency, so keep an eye out for that. Couple that with Kentucky going just 196.000 to fall to Missouri less than a month ago, and there’s precedent for Kentucky putting up a beatable number and losing to one of the unseeded sides here.

The positive for Kentucky is that even the 196.225 from SECs was still good enough on that day to stay ahead of Missouri, a team that desperately missed Ward and Huber for a very low vault score. Kentucky’s 196.225 was also stronger than the 195.950 Iowa State put up at Big 12s.

For Iowa State’s part, the team will have to rely on some misses for a chance to advance here, but the initial and most realistic goal will be to outscore Missouri. That, at least, would set Iowa State up as the team able to pounce on a missed meet from a favorite and is quite a possible outcome. Missouri and ISU are not separated by too much. But to do it, Iowa State would need to beat Missouri on vault. With Missouri depleted there, and Iowa State boasting big-scoring vaults from Steinmeyer and Sievers, it’s the best place for Iowa State to gain a comparative advantage.

Semifinal #1 – Score Comparison
Georgia
RQS: 197.315 [1]
Season high: 197.525 [1]
Season average: 196.838 [1]

VT RQS: 49.365 [1]
VT average: 49.290 [1]
UB RQS: 49.320 [1]
UB average: 49.087 [2]
BB RQS: 49.305 [2]
BB average: 49.188 [1]
FX RQS: 49.375 [1]
FX average: 49.273 [1]

Kentucky
RQS: 197.085 [2]
Season high: 197.525 [2]
Season average: 196.460 [2]

VT RQS: 49.210 [2]
VT average: 49.135 [2]
UB RQS: 49.270 [2]
UB average: 49.146 [1]
BB RQS: 49.330 [1]
BB average: 49.071 [2]
FX RQS: 49.285 [2]
FX average: 49.108 [3]

Missouri
RQS: 196.385 [3]
Season high: 196.800 [3]
Season average: 195.969 [3]

VT RQS: 49.020 [4]
VT average: 48.898 [4]
UB RQS: 49.085 [4]
UB average: 48.948 [3]
BB RQS: 49.110 [3]
BB average: 48.923 [3]
FX RQS: 49.270 [3]
FX average: 49.200 [2]

Iowa State
RQS: 196.080 [4]
Season high: 196.700 [4]
Season average: 195.483 [4]

VT RQS: 49.105 [3]
VT average: 49.002 [3]
UB RQS: 49.130 [3]
UB average: 48.858 [4]
BB RQS: 48.925 [4]
BB average: 48.760 [4]
FX RQS: 49.055 [4]
FX average: 48.863 [4]

Semifinal #1 – Rotation-by-rotation NQS
Rotation 1 – Georgia VT, Iowa St UB, Kentucky BB, Missouri FX
1. Georgia – 49.365
2. Kentucky 49.330
3. Missouri – 49.270
4. Iowa State – 49.130

All the teams start on what should be strong scores for them, so Georgia and Kentucky would be buoyed by having a lead at this point. It would mean they’ve weathered a possible storm.

Rotation 2 – Missouri VT, Georgia UB, Iowa St BB, Kentucky FX
1. Georgia – 98.685
2. Kentucky 98.615
3. Missouri – 98.290
4. Iowa State – 98.055

Vault is the worry for Missouri, so it’s essential for Missouri to stay ahead of Iowa State after its vault rotation to be in best position to jump on a mistake. But if the margins look like this after two events, it will take a fall to shake things up.

Rotation 3 – Kentucky VT, Missouri UB, Georgia BB, Iowa St FX
1. Georgia – 147.990
2. Kentucky – 147.825
3. Missouri – 147.375
4. Iowa State – 147.110

If everything is going to form, the third rotation is about Georgia getting through beam, an event they often endure with an acceptable enough score, but one that’s also typically quite a journey along the way.

Rotation 4 – Iowa St VT, Kentucky UB, Missouri BB, Georgia FX
1. Georgia – 197.365
2. Kentucky – 197.095
3. Missouri – 196.485
4. Iowa State – 196.215

In the end, Kentucky should have an advantage over Missouri of more than a fall. But do you want to risk it? No.


Semifinal #2

[1] Oklahoma, [15] Cal, [28] Maryland, [PI] NC State/New Hampshire

Every indication is that this second semifinal, and most of the second semifinals across the country, should be a more straightforward affair, a simple matter of positioning for the regional final and waiting to see if a seeded team has an implosion to make things interesting.

We enter with two clear favorites here—Oklahoma, which should run away with the lead, and Cal, which should score a high enough 196 to avoid things getting at all uncertain. For Oklahoma, there’s really no danger of getting eliminated in this meet, right? That would be insane. They can count multiple falls. So let’s defer all discussion of Maggie Lineup Watch to the regional final, when it might actually matter. Cal won’t feel as relaxed about qualification as Oklahoma but did get the best possible semifinal draw and will advance to the final with a performance of anything “OK” and above. You know, the official meet classifications. Cal did not perform at its best at Pac-12s, but still did so for 196.575, which is higher than the season highs for Maryland, NC State, or New Hampshire. A repeat of that meet would be just fine.

Besides, you know, waiting for a fall, Maryland’s path into this meet would be on bars. That’s once again the most impressive and nationally competitive lineup Maryland has, and even though Maryland had rough scores across the board at Big Tens and ultimately got dropped toward the bottom of the pile because of an implosion on beam, the team had a real argument for getting underscored for a strong bars rotation right before that.

We don’t know yet who the final team will be, and that final team will come in at a disadvantage, competing for a second day in a row while everyone else is fully rested (I’m totally fine with that because it creates a reward for regular season performance for those who place in the top 28). It’s quite possible that either NC State or New Hampshire could beat Maryland on the day and therefore set themselves up as the upset team (the three are all pretty close), but any one of them would need help to get through. These teams need to have a season-best day while Cal has one of those meets where an 8.9 has to count on bars.

Semifinal #2 – Score Comparison
This one gets a little funky since we don’t know the final team yet, but just go with it.

Oklahoma
RQS: 198.115 [1]
Season high: 198.325 [1]
Season average: 197.808 [1]

VT RQS: 49.545 [1]
VT average: 49.452 [1]
UB RQS: 49.570 [1]
UB average: 49.519 [1]
BB RQS: 49.555 [1]
BB average: 49.408 [1]
FX RQS: 49.570 [1]
FX average: 49.429 [1]

California
RQS: 196.625 [2]
Season high: 197.575 [2]
Season average: 196.308 [2]

VT RQS: 49.195 [2]
VT average: 49.131 [2]
UB RQS: 49.275 [2]
UB average: 48.958 [2]
BB RQS: 49.250 [2]
BB average: 49.100 [2]
FX RQS: 49.215 [2]
FX average: 49.119 [2]

Maryland
RQS: 195.840 [3]
Season high: 196.525 [3]
Season average: 195.225 [4/3]

VT RQS: 48.980 [3]
VT average: 48.827 [3]
UB RQS: 49.095 [3]
UB average: 48.931 [3]
BB RQS: 48.900 [4]
BB average: 48.585 [4]
FX RQS: 49.125 [3]
FX average: 48.883 [4]

NC State/New Hampshire
RQS: 197.715 [4]/195.680 [4]
Season high: 196.400 [4]/196.175 [4]
Season average: 195.337 [3]/195.165[4]

VT RQS: 48.890 [4]/48.830 [4]
VT average: 48.737 [4]/48.713 [4]
UB RQS: 49.030 [4]/48.905 [4]
UB average: 48.892 [4]/48.733 [4]
BB RQS: 48.955 [3]/49.015 [3]
BB average: 48.748 [3]/48.802 [3]
FX RQS: 49.090 [4]/49.110 [4]
FX average: 48.960 [3]/48.917 [3]

Semifinal #2 – Rotation-by-rotation NQS
Rotation 1 – Oklahoma VT, NC St/UNH UB, Cal BB, Maryland FX
1. Oklahoma 49.545
2. Cal – 49.250
3. Maryland – 49.125
4. NC St/UNH – 49.030/48.905

The critical thing here will be Cal getting through beam with a lead on Maryland, since Maryland will have competed on the highest scoring apparatus. The first rotation probably presents Maryland’s best look at the meet.

Rotation 2 – Maryland VT, Oklahoma UB, NC St/UNH BB, Cal FX
1. Oklahoma – 99.195
2. Cal – 98.465
3. Maryland – 98.105
4. NC St/UNH – 97.985/97.920

Oklahoma’s like, “Bye everyone.”

Rotation 3 – Cal VT, Maryland UB, Oklahoma BB, NC St/UNH FX
1. Oklahoma – 148.750
2. Cal – 147.660
3. Maryland – 147.200
4. NC St/UNH – 147.075/147.030

What’s interesting here is that Maryland, NC State, and New Hampshire aren’t totally gone at this point. They haven’t been dropped by Cal to a greater-than-fall margin, so don’t be surprised if it seems close after three events. But also Maryland hasn’t done beam yet.

Rotation 4 – NC St/UNH VT, Cal UB, Maryland BB, Oklahoma FX
1. Oklahoma – 198.320
2. Cal – 196.935
3. Maryland – 196.100
4. NC St/UNH – 195.965/195.860

This is the rotation where Cal is supposed to extend the margin to a “you can probably count a fall and it’s still fine” level.


Regional Final

There’s only so much previewing that can be done about the regional final because we don’t yet know who’s competing in it, but since these regional finals are going to be the most intense and interesting affairs of regionals weekend, here’s a preview anyway where we all just pretend that the top 4 teams have advanced.

Because if any of those top 4 don’t advance, it would be a great accomplishment for whatever team upsets them, but that team likely isn’t going to be in serious contention to advance to nationals against the rest of the seeds. On a hit day.

Of course, the team most likely to advance to nationals is Oklahoma. It would be a shock-wave-inducing, ridiculous upset if Oklahoma were to miss nationals, but this is also the part of the postseason where we’ll start seeing teams score 197 and get eliminated. So there’s a little bit more pressure. Oklahoma can’t just phone it in, and Maggie Lineup Watch will be live again because when she’s on only two events, there remains the possibility for floor to go haywire and make things interesting. But there’s no way Oklahoma hits and doesn’t advance.

So if we assume Oklahoma gets through, we have three more teams fighting for the other spot at nationals. As the home team, the highest-ranked of the three, and the team with the most 9.9able routines, Georgia will be favored—but far from locked. We’ve come to expect scores solidly into the 197s from Georgia at home, but whether it’s inconsistency in the bars lineup, beam getting hairy in the middle with a tentative 9.650 from someone who should be scoring 9.9, or some beatable 9.750s to start on floor, Georgia tends to open the door, and the other teams here are too good not to walk through it.

We’ll have to see how much a home-gym advantage favors Georgia. Because if it’s one of those Georgia home-meet days where Sabrina Vega is going 9.900 on vault, and Sami Davis is going 9.850 on floor, then it’s basically over. Please pack your knives and send Oklahoma and Georgia to nationals. But postseason judging is supposed to be…not like that?

If it’s judged more like a road meet, we could see Georgia drop down into the 196s and become vulnerable to a Kentucky team that very much expects to beat Georgia on beam with that Dukes-Hyland punch that can score right with Oklahoma—or a Cal squad that has the highest peak score (197.575) of any of these three teams and has top-8 weapons on bars and beam, like what is becoming an auto-9.9 for Emi Watterson on bars or Clausi’s beam that can get 9.9s even from the second position. Georgia itself should be gorgeous on bars and beam (talent-wise, those are this roster’s best events), but I don’t think anyone is convinced by the hitting just yet, all of which combines to mean that bars and beam are the likely epicenters of any upset here.

Meanwhile, Georgia will expect to enjoy a clearer edge on vault and floor with a few more 10.0 starts on vault and a few more (and bigger) E passes on floor. Georgia is able to put up someone like Lukacs on these events, while the other teams are putting up a Yfull or a double-pike floor in the equivalent lineup spot, and Georgia will come out with the scoring advantage in that matchup every time.

The floor issue is particularly interesting because Kentucky just struggled there at SECs and Cal’s floor scores tend to lag behind the other top schools. Georgia will absolutely be looking to take floor—which is why Kentucky and Cal wouldn’t necessarily mind Georgia winning its semifinal and having to start on floor in the regional final, with the hope that the scores begin a little conservatively. By contrast, Cal is likely to get Olympic order by finishing 2nd in its semifinal and would hope that rising scores at the end of regionals weekend (when Carol is already 3/4 off the wagon again) would make the floor lineup less likely to get stuck in the friend zone. Rotation order presents the possibility of evening things out.

Regional Final – Score Comparison
Oklahoma
RQS: 198.115 [1]
Season high: 198.325 [1]
Season average: 197.808 [1]

VT RQS: 49.545 [1]
VT average: 49.452 [1]
UB RQS: 49.570 [1]
UB average: 49.519 [1]
BB RQS: 49.555 [1]
BB average: 49.408 [1]
FX RQS: 49.570 [1]
FX average: 49.429 [1]

Georgia
RQS: 197.315 [2]
Season high: 197.525 [3]
Season average: 196.838 [2]

VT RQS: 49.365 [2]
VT average: 49.290 [2]
UB RQS: 49.320 [2]
UB average: 49.087 [3]
BB RQS: 49.305 [3]
BB average: 49.188 [2]
FX RQS: 49.375 [2]
FX average: 49.273 [2]

Kentucky
RQS: 197.085 [3]
Season high: 197.525 [3]
Season average: 196.460 [3]

VT RQS: 49.210 [3]
VT average: 49.135 [3]
UB RQS: 49.270 [4]
UB average: 49.146 [2]
BB RQS: 49.330 [2]
BB average: 49.071 [4]
FX RQS: 49.285 [3]
FX average: 49.108 [4]

California
RQS: 196.625 [4]
Season high: 197.575 [2]
Season average: 196.308 [4]

VT RQS: 49.195 [4]
VT average: 49.131 [4]
UB RQS: 49.275 [3]
UB average: 48.958 [4]
BB RQS: 49.250 [4]
BB average: 49.100 [3]
FX RQS: 49.215 [4]
FX average: 49.119 [3]


Individuals

The new individual qualification system makes it a bit more challenging to prognosticate who might gets those spots. For the one all-around spot, the best bet is one among of the legion of Kentucky AAers if Kentucky doesn’t get through as a team. If Kentucky does upset Georgia, then whoever didn’t fall of Snead or Dickson becomes the favorite for the all-around spot. I’d also keep an eye on Meaghan Sievers of Iowa State as your darkhorse candidate.

We will have more event qualifiers this year since you no longer have to win an event to advance, just win the event among the gymnasts who aren’t already advancing to nationals as part of teams.

For most events in this regional, the all-around nominees listed above are also going to be the most compelling contenders. Korth and Snead have those 1.5s on vault, Korth and Dickson tend to get big numbers on floor, Dukes and Hyland will be among the biggest beam scores, but Cal should also put up some major event candidates if it doesn’t go through as a team—Watterson for bars and Clausi for any of her events seeming the most likely. This is also the regional of Khazia Hislop competing as an individual, so don’t be remotely surprised if she gets through to nationals for floor. Danielle Mulligan of New Hampshire will also make a good case for herself on bars.

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9 thoughts on “Regionals Preview Part 2: Georgia Regional”

  1. Where to we gather for the impending Flo riot, re: Ann Arbor Regionals and the likely lack of free access (as mandated by NCAA rules)?

    Like

    1. Khazia to me defines what NCAA gymnastics is all about. She doesn’t have the most difficulty in the NCAA, but what she does she does PERFECTLY! Split leaps, rudi, double backs. Even on vault, her Y full is right up there with Sarah Finnegan. Though obviously I would doubt she will qualify for vault since she has a 9.95 SV. But yes she needs to qualify on floor!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Lol Spencer “This is also the regional of Khazia Hislop competing as an individual”. Correct. Can we not call it the Athens regional and instead call it the regional of Khazia Hislop? Haha

    Like

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