Onward to Fort Worth!

After that whirlwind weekend (as long as you consider Thursday part of the weekend, which you don’t, because it’s not), we now know which teams have advanced to the national championship and which teams think this new postseason format is a terrible idea.

FULL DRAW

Now, to set the scene.


SEMIFINAL #1 – April 19, 12:00 CT

[2] UCLA – Vault
[3] LSU – Beam
[6] Utah – Floor
[7] Michigan – Bars

Congratulations, you got the bad one. The hard one. All of the top-seeded teams advanced from this side of the draw—including what is now 4 of the top 6 teams at nationals overall—and we have just 2 spots remaining for them in the team final.

UCLA is the only team that will be comfortable with this draw because UCLA was going to be a major favorite to advance to the final regardless of the draw. UCLA hit 198 in the regional final, and used a B+ squad to go 197.675 in the semifinal, which still outpaced the scores for any of these others teams over either day of regional competition. The other three are in the danger zone.

LSU is your seeded favorite for the second spot, but Utah will look at Saturday’s result—finishing just .250 behind LSU at LSU—and feel it is in with at least a shot at advancing. By scoring 197.275 for what was still not an ideal performance either, Michigan proved it is not going to be an also-ran in this semifinal. No filler rotations here.


SEMIFINAL #2 – April 19, 6:00 CT

[1] Oklahoma – Vault
[5] Denver – Beam
[8] Georgia – Bars
[16] Oregon St – Floor

Congratulations, you got the good one. The elimination of Florida has blown up this half of the bracket, providing what should be a cleaner route to the team final for Oklahoma, as well as a true opportunity for someone unexpected to make it. Denver, Georgia, and Oregon State are not “supposed” to make the team final, and yet one of them will.

Denver is your ranking favorite, and the question we’ll have to tackle as we march toward this semifinal is how much being at home for regionals buoyed Georgia and Oregon State (both in scores and actual performances) versus how truly competitive they might be at a neutral site. Georgia’s regional final score was more than a fall better than Denver’s, but like…those scores.


EVENT DRAW

The rotation draws are fairly…normal here? They don’t look like they’re provide a significant advantage or disadvantage to any team or change what the scenario would be in any other context. Oregon State and Utah probably won’t love starting on floor because they both need that event to be a big score, but it worked out for them at regionals.

I actually think that the worst draw to get these days is starting on bars—because it means you have to finish on vault. Vault is the lowest-scoring event in NCAA and the one where the potential Carol-ness of end-of-meet scoring when everyone is drunk at getting 10s is dampened by start values. We saw that play out at regional finals for the teams with that rotation order. Minnesota ending on vault while Utah was on beam was ultimately a disadvantage for Minnesota, not Utah, even though beam. Michigan’s final vault rotation of 9.825s almost let Alabama back into the meet, and Kentucky finishing on vault meant it just couldn’t quite keep up with the 49.5-a-thon that was the Athens regional. Half the rotation scores at that regional were 49.550 or greater (not over it), but none of those 49.550+ scores came on vault.


FOUR ON THE FLOOR DRAW – April 20, 6:00 CT

For future reference.

Vault – 2nd place, Semifinal 1
Bars – 1st place, Semifinal 2
Beam – 1st place, Semifinal 1
Floor – 2nd place, Semifinal 2

The random draw typically causes ire because it doesn’t necessarily reward performance in the semifinals with a good event order, but this year I feel like Olympic order is an appropriate reward for whichever team manages to advance from that mire of the first semifinal in 2nd place. They’ll have had to fight for it.


INDIVIDUALS

National individual titles are awarded based on the scores in the semifinals, and we now use six judges with four scores counting throughout nationals, which is ostensibly to separate the scores a little more and avoid having ties for those event championships. Meanwhile, we had a three-way tie for the vault title last year and a two-way tie for the bars and floor titles.

The new individual qualification system gives us more eventers and fewer all-arounders advancing with just four AAers qualifying—Alex Hyland, Kentucky; Sienna Crouse, Nebraska; Lexy Ramler, Minnesota; Alicia Boren, Florida. Alex Hyland is the only one of those four who received Olympic order, drawn to rotate with UCLA in the first semifinal. All four individuals are capable of exceptionally strong scores, but everything so far this season has pointed to Kyla Ross as the all-around favorite with Maggie Nichols as the last-minute spoiler when she comes back on floor for nationals. With people like Finnegan and Skinner as the second tier of contenders.

Historically, discussion of scores rising in the second semifinal at nationals has been overblown (and teams tend to prefer being placed in the first semifinal because it allows for more rest before the final), but it’s worth noting that Nichols is the only one of those top four contenders who competes in the second semifinal.

The individual qualifiers are as follows:
Vault – Milan Clausi, Cal; Taylor Houchin, Nebraska; Derrian Gobourne, Auburn; Savannah Schoenherr, Florida
Bars – Sabrina Garcia, Penn St; Cally Nixon, Kentucky; Trinity Thomas, Florida; Cairo Leonard-Baker, Arizona St
Beam – Brooke Kelly, Missouri; Jessie Bastardi, Penn St; Alyssa Baumann, Florida; Hailey Garner, Arkansas
Floor – Sidney Dukes, Kentucky; Abby Armbrecht, Alabama; Trinity Thomas, Florida; Sophia Carter

Alyssa Baumann was drawn to rotate with Georgia, and will compete in the same beam rotation as her sister. Look how that worked out.

The most likely outcome has Ohashi, Ross, and Nichols dominating the individual titles, with Finnegan and Skinner right there on their best events (and then Wojcik, maybe Trautman for floor) because it’s going to take 10s to win most of these events if this season’s everything is any indication. But of the individual qualifiers, the Florida’s will put up a good fight. You can see Trinity Thomas winning events, and there is historical precedent for extremely high scores for the individuals coming from the famous team that got upset at regionals.

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77 thoughts on “Onward to Fort Worth!”

  1. Don’t count LSU out of this yet…that was certainly not an ideal set of circumstances for their regional either – with at least 1 one back up used on vault, bars, and floor this weekend. And, if they manage to be second on day 1, which they assuredly will because of crazy UCLA scoring/olympic order/finishing with Ohashi, then they get Olympic order on the final day – and then maybe, just maybe, after this up and down season, anything could happen…

    I also just hope that, regardless of anything else, Finnegan gets the scores she deserves when put in the same arena as Kyla.

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    1. Unpopular opinion but Gracie Kramer is the best UCLA floor worker and is the one who deserves to win the NCAA floor title (IF a UCLA gymnast were to win it).

      I know everyone thinks this is a bad opinion.

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      1. I honestly agree. She’s the one ucla gymnast in the floor lineup who has deserved 90 % of the floor scores she’s gotten. Hopefully the judges will reward her if she hits her normal routine, even though she’s in the 2 spot.

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      2. Give her any other E mount and the whole world would agree. I hope she gets the plum lineup spot next year, because she is freaking stellar. Highlight of every meet the last 2 years.

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      3. Why is this a bad opinion? She is a GENIUS dancer/ performer. She hits every freaking routine, too. She is my favorite one to watch on floor. And my husband’s gymnast crush too. LOL

        Liked by 1 person

    2. “I also just hope that, regardless of anything else, Finnegan gets the scores she deserves when put in the same arena as Kyla.”

      YES!!!!! Agreed.

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  2. So unless the gymnastics gods conspire a Florida-like downfall – we can expect Oklahoma to start the final on BARS and UCLA to start the final on BEAM.

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  3. I feel uncomfortable assuming that UCLA will make it through a semifinal. I know they’ve largely stopped being interesting headcases gymnastically… but I don’t totally trust them not to randomly count a fall.

    I hope Ross hits to her potential as I prefer her to Nichols and Finnegan (both of whom are IMO just as dangerous of contenders for the AA).

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    1. The biggest concerns for UCLA are:
      – Bars #2 and 3 spots in the lineup. They still haven’t worked it out and are ending on bars. They will need a lead going in to the last rotation to give a buffer for meh scores there
      – Kocian in the beam lineup. Without her name, is there any reason she stays? Has she even fully hit one routine this season? I mean, I get that she is working through injury, I just find it hard to believe that there isn’t another reliable 9.9 somewhere in the roster. Val didn’t play so much of the “exploring depth” game this year.
      Honorable mention: Tratz on floor. She seems to have trouble hitting three passes week after week. More Jo for you!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. In regards to your second point, she’s actually been significantly better in her work on the beam the last few meets, but her dismount is really losing her quite a bit. I don’t understand why they didn’t explore different dismounts for Kocian and Flatley earlier in the year. Both of them seem to have a tendency to incur 0.1+ in landing deductions. That’s quite a lot to give away, especially considering that many athletes are able to do beam dismounts that pretty much never incur more than 0.05 in deductions. Both of those athletes can be exceptionally clean on the beam and are often on track for a 9.9+, but then they throw it all away with a messy dismount. As far as your point about why she’s even in the lineup, I’d love to see Anna Glenn in the lineup. Maybe next year…

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Ikr, Nia has dcored a 9.975 this year on beam and has way more potential than Kocian. Although it’s kinda okay since Kocian’s score has always been dropped. Kocian should stay on bars and let someone else go do bars, I don’t remember her scoring 9.9s yet this season and there’s a lot more UCLA beam workers. Imo, it should be Grace, Nia, Brielle, Norah, Kyla, Katelyn

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      1. Amen! I completely understand that some people find routines that are pretty average difficulty-wise for NCAA to be boring, but I oppose the notion that NCAA judges should invent some difficulty deduction that doesn’t actually exist in the code for routines that start from 10 but don’t have any jaw-dropping skills. If the code caps routines at a start value of 10, then all routines that meet the requirements for starting from 10 should actually start from 10. There’s already enough disregard for the code going on in the current scoring situation with the blatant disregard for deductions. We don’t need the judges to exacerbate the situation by inventing deductions according to their own preferences that don’t actually exist in the code.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I actually think that UCLA can count a fall and still advance! None of Denver, Utah, or Oregon State are that threatening to them. Sure, counting a fall devastates a score, but if UCLA was on 198+/198.5 pace, and then fell, I still think they could score 197.5 or so, and that would take a PERFECT meet from Utah (who has been WEAK in scoring potential this season, though not so much in consistency) to challenge, and Denver is in completely uncharted territory here, I don´t know if they can hold it together.

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    1. You’re forgetting that UCLA is in the Michigan, Utah, LSU regional. Oklahoma has the easy draw with Georgia, Denver, and Oregon State. LSU has the potential for scoring that has been closer to UCLA’s. Also LOL at UCLA being on a real 198.5 pace. I just want everyone to be on the same scoring criteria. I am hopeful that in the same arena sanity will win out to modulate the UCLA scores some. (I also hope that for Oklahoma in the night session as well, but have more skin in the game for UCLA since they are in LSU’s session).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I just hope the judges from the Athens Regionals are BANNED from Fort Worth and the NCAA championship (and all NCAA events in the future).

        I DO NOT recognize any score a team or gymnast received at that travesty of a “meet” as legitimate. I’m sorry for the gymnasts, but I think they understand their scores weren’t real.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. If regionals are any indicator, scoring will be just as insane as preseason.
        At least there’s no home team in ft worth.

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      3. I think that punch for punch UCLA is actually stronger than Okalhoma but Oklahoma has managed to have their entire lineup hit close to their full potential in a meet while UCLA hasn’t. If Oklahoma is as hungry as we expect them UCLA won’t have the luxury of being kind of meh until 2.5 rotations in.

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    2. Only because of judging. Rough estimate that would score high 9.9s for Oklahoma or sucks score no higher than 9.85. Skinner and Lee in particular. It’s been that way most of the season.

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  5. This (disturbingly) could be the first year where a gymnast NEEDS a perfect 10 to win. I really hope UCLA doesn’t get 10s just for showing up like they have all season. At least half of their 10s are easily debatable, if not more. My prediction for Four on the Floor is UCLA, Utah, Oklahoma, and Georgia.

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    1. Curious as to why you’d pick Utah over LSU, when LSU has beaten them twice this season? Not saying it won’t be close, between the two, but given history I’d have to say that it would go to LSU.

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      1. To preface, I’m a Utah fan, so part of this is definitely wishful thinking, but here are other justifications:

        – Utah just did a meet in this same order, so there’s familiarity with this rotation
        – Utah counts 10 routines from seniors (and 7 from juniors), so 70% of routines are from upperclassmen. A lot of experience in the postseason will be helpful.
        – Utah was not at its best against LSU and only scored .25 behind LSU *in Baton Rouge* – if they can put together a hit meet there’s every reason to believe they can hang with LSU.
        – It’s the postseason, and as we just saw with Florida, there’s no guarantee that the higher ranked team advances

        But this is why we have sports – no awards are given for who is supposed to win. You have to perform when the pressure is on.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ahh – being a Utah fan explains it; I am an LSU fan, which explains my point of view. I think it will be close, but advatnage LSU. Also, we had backups on three events at the regional meet and Finnegan was sick (though I heard maybe Mykayla was as well?) Also, despite being in Baton Rouge, the atmosphere at that meet was totally different than regular season meets, so maybe helpful in terms of familiarity and home field, but perhaps not that helpful. Also, LSU just did their last rotation in the same order they are scheduled to in the semifinal as well 😉

        Maybe somehow they can both get in and we can put away UCLA 🙂

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      3. YES! Let’s team up and take out UCLA 😀

        I remember LSU had Utah’s back in 2015. The gymnasts and fans were SO kind to us. Utah fans are cool with LSU in my experience.

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    2. My dream final result vs what will likely be reality:

      DREAM –
      1. LSU
      2. Denver
      3. UCLA
      4. OU

      REALITY –
      1. UCLA
      2. OU
      3. LSU
      4. Denver

      I’d also be OK with Denver pulling off the upset and winning, but LSU really has paid its dues and DD and the seniors really deserve this.

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      1. I know Denver is ranked to advance from semifinal #2, but my money is on Georgia nabbing the second spot.

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      2. LSU “paying it’s dues” shouldn’t translate into “deserving” to win…the team with the best performance should win, period….and it shouldn’t include a counted fall (not saying that LSU counted a fall but glad Florida got eliminated because any team heading to nationals shouldn’t be counting a fall).

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      3. Yessssss! LSU for the win! They’ve been so close for years and I’d love to see them win their first title while upsetting both OU and UCLA. (I actually love both of these teams, but they have gotten more than their fair share of gifts this year)

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      4. When I say “paid their dues” I meant in the same way OU had to finish second or third (miss the Super Six in 2012) before finally winning – they’ve earned it.

        I have not been happy with the way UGA has the judges thinking their sweat doesn’t smell this season so I cannot pick them, and after the Athens Regional I am hoping the Gym Karma is in play and they suffer a miserable fate in the semifinal. Now if they put enough green into the brown envelopes they slip to the judges pre-meet they could make the final with a fall or two… 🙂

        In the REALITY part I was torn over putting other teams into the three and four slots but decided it would likely be close and for clarity I just left it the same as the fantasy. The only team I would be shocked at if they made the final four championship is Oregon State.

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  6. Non sequitur but I’m really impressed with Karrie Thomas on UB for Oklahoma. I had her for fantasy gym as kind of a random pick and she seems like she’s really come through for them and improved over the season.

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  7. Don’t forget this is Miss Val’s last meet. I expect it to be mentioned at least 1,000 times during the broadcast. I don’t want judges “giving” any team the win, but I wouldn’t be surprised if UCLA received some kind of farewell gift to Miss Val at Nationals.

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    1. In addition to the “end of the Miss Val era” mentions, I predict we’ll need to do a dramatic retelling of the 2018 Super Six at least 10 times throughout the weekend. After all the Pac-12 Network coverage this year, I’ve grown really tired of hearing about the magic of the Peng 10. I’m very happy for Peng that she got to end her career in that way, but as far as broadcasts of current meets are concerned, it’s time to move on from that and talk about what’s happening this season.

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    2. I’ve been saying this all year… the judges may go even crackier and send Val out as the “back to back NCAA champion”, deserved or not. Not saying UCLA isn’t good enough to pull it off, but the Val hype ad nauseum will make it eye roll worthy…

      And this may not be a popular sentiment but I’m over the Val retirement tour and the Ohashi viral video craze… give me the quiet humble elegance of Kyla Ross anyday.

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      1. Oh, I believe your opinion is very popular. I’ve been saying it all season. All the social media hype and assisted in inflating their scores. Routines with obvious flaws getting 9.9 and above. So totally over it. It is really sad with a comparable routine from another school gets a 9:8 to 9.85 and UCLA pops the 9.95 I’m surprised there isn’t a revolution among the other coaches (Oklahoma is excluded).

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  8. As far as what Spencer said about vault being the worst even to end on, I don’t think that’s just because of the lower start values. For whatever reason, it seems like hops on the landing (as in not just slides, but actual hops) seem to be the one and only thing that judges by and large are not willing to overlook deductions wise. Yes, there are a few examples such as the infamous Brenna Dowell 10, but most of the times judges won’t ignore an obvious hop. Given that vault tends to be judged based solely on landings even when the scores are only moderately cracky, you can’t take full advantage of excessively cracky scoring on vault because you’re still losing 0.1 when you hop back 3 feet on the landing.

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  9. If UCLA is behind Oklahoma heading into the final rotation then the judges will inflate UCLA scores and they will win. Disappointing about the rotation order for finals. I already know how this one will end

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    1. Sounds like even if UCLA does outperform Oklahoma and deserve the win, you won’t believe that it could actually happen, so why even watch it at all? 🙄🙄🙄You already know how it will end no matter what actually goes down.

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      1. No, the losers are the teams whose qualifying scores were damaged by the over scores of UCLA and Oklahoma. It affects the post season seeding and individuals. I saw UCLA in 2 meets this season and there were some completely crack scores. Even Kyla, whom I adore because of her total class, was over scored and I won’t even attempt to explain Kocian’s scores, who I also love. The overscoring is definitely damaging. I’m not being a sore loser, I am being pragmatic and honest about the scores.

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      2. The comment is directed at whoever (maybe you) insisted that if UCLA was behind Oklahoma after the third rotation, that judges would automatically inflate their scores so they could win.

        First of all, I don’t think there’s any evidence that UCLA gets overscored to Oklahoma’s detriment. Their one head-to-head meet this year saw equal overscoring for both (if anything, in OU’s favor). Second, that original comment also suggests that if UCLA comes from behind in the fourth rotation, it’s not because they performed well, it’s because the judges favored them. If you’re going to have that opinion, why watch? You’ve already decided OU is the more deserving team regardless of performance and are going to bitch if they lose no matter what. That’s being a sore loser, for sure.

        I won’t argue with you that UCLA and OU’s overscoring this season was detrimental to everyone else. But that’s not at all what the comment was about.

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      3. No, I am not the (maybe you) and I was not specifically referring to UCLA/OK overscoring compared to each other BOTH have been way overscored all season. It has affected the positioning of both individuals and teams. It will be interesting to see if the judges can keep their scores reasonable, honest and fair at nationals. Oklahoma has a cake walk into the finals so there won’t be a real need to be cracky but the judging probably will anyway just for position sake. The other semi will be really interesting. Particularly where Georgia and UCLA are concerned they have been the top post season recipients this year. Who knows, Carol and the Carol Minions may develop the flu or something and the real judges can then come to play. Time will tell.

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      4. Well okay then I agree with every thing that you said 🙂 and extra co-sign on the statement about Georgia’s crazy scores. I feel like Georgia’s overscoring has been more ignored because it’s exciting to see them coming back up, and because they’re not seen as a championship contender so who cares… but now it’s starting to matter.

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      5. Except for the regular season UK meet, UGA’s scoring has basically been a game of Oprah level generousity for all teams as opposed to only one team. You get 9.9, you get a 9.9, EvErEE Bahdy gets a Nine point Nine!!!! Humorously they even got home scoring at UF.

        But they were not gifted wins over more deserving teams week in, week out. I think the perception that UGA got some major home gifts this year (9.6 with a fall on beam, 9.975 for a double pike FX, etc) has clouded that the Athens regional was not a UGA bias but just a failure to take deductions from anyone. If truth be told UF, UCLA and OU saw the same level of permissive scoring. The irony for me will be with Denver and UGA in the same session we will see which of the two is most in line with their season average.

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  10. I hate that the individual qualifiers are such an afterthought at nationals. At the end of the regular season they should just take the top 6 or 8 or whatever ranked on each event and do an event finals. Then regionals and nationals can be solely focused on the teams. During semis the gymnasts should just be focused on getting their team into finals and not also having to try to win individual titles for themselves.

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    1. I’m totally up for the notion of a separate individual competition, but not if they determine who goes by taking the top several in NQS rankings on each event. Well, I guess I should specify that I would be heavily opposed to it unless they did something meaningful to change the blatant leo bias and name recognition scoring that goes on. If you look at the NQS rankings for the events this year, there are a number of athletes ranked near the top who realistically don’t deserve to be ranked anywhere near that high, but their names and teams get them those spots. If we’re going to create a special, separate event for individual competition, that’s all the more reason to ensure that exceptional athletes from lower ranked teams aren’t being passed over for those spots in favor of well known athletes from highly ranked teams who are putting out good but not great routines.

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  11. i have a bunch of favorite gymnasts who are all on different teams and i typically want underdogs to win. Id really like to see Denver win, but if LSU wins, id be really happy for DD, too. I started the season thinking,”wow, LSU had the chance to do it last year with that team, but idk about this one.” maybe their slow and steady improvement will pay off.

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  12. I think the individual event qualifiers from UF got the best pairings with UGA in that 2nd semi. They are all following girls that should go 9.9+ but they will not be behind someone who would outclass them. Heck Bauman is only one spot removed from following her sister…

    I think the fight for the #2 spot in the evening semi will be the most interesting placement. I fell like the afternoon session comes down to which of LSU and Utah does not make a mistake. The #2, 3, 4 teams in the evening are much more likely to be hot or cold. Question 1 is Denver more in line with their Regionals score or the NQS? Question 2 is what UGA’s score actually should have been at Regionals?

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    1. The Florida Bauman will look world-class next to the 3-5 beam positions on the UGA beam. The 3-5 beam slots for Georgia are usually full of checks and errors and often scored too high.

      Vega as the anchor is solid, though she does tend to feel the nerves at the big moments and end up with lower scores in the 9.7s or even as low as 9.65. Snead is never deducted for not hitting 180 on her leaps so if the judges aren’t in a friendly mood and decide to take she ends up with a 9.8 max.

      The BEST beam worker in the UGA lineup is Dickson in the second position. She’s awesome when she hits. But she also has the tendency to make mistakes or take a fall at random times. You never know what kind of day she’ll have – 9.95 or 9.6 after a fall (yes I know that’s not mathematically possible but it reflects some of her previous beam scores).

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    2. No idea what UGA should have received in the Athens Regional – I haven’t actually been able to watch the meet, relying on Spencer and others to describe routines.

      From what I can figure though OU was definitely the top team (surprise) and Kentucky had enough errors scattered through the day they should be the fourth place team.

      But UGA and Cal are too close to call and an impartial person really needs to review all routines from both teams and score them properly to see what team should be second and what team should be third. I think it would be close and the scores likely around 197.300-ish.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah I’m super bummed about Cal’s defeat and given UGA’s home scoring all season I really question whether that was the right team placement. And that result MATTERS – a trip to nationals was on the line.

        I’m a Cal fan and a Georgia hater, so pretty biased, and I’d be interested to hear the perspective of someone who is actually impartial.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Lexi Ramler being the surprise AA winner would be a dream. I know unrealistic with Kyla, Maggie, Mykayla and even Sarah F but if Ramler ended up somehow winning I would be over the moon excited.

      Can you imagine how good Minnesota would be if Ramler and Mable overlapped in their careers…

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  13. Literally anyone except lovely gymnasts but so bloody boring. Also don’t understand how their floor routines score so well with dull choreography and basic passes. Love UCLA but LOL that people think they will win. Eternal head case team. They could just as easily come last. Sad Kyla and Kate will likely get lowballed on scores in the first semi. Was hoping KR for AA ans Bars, Kate for beam/floor but scores unlikely to hold from session 1.

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    1. UCLA managed to get 2 individual titles while competing in the first semifinal last year, so I think they’ll be just fine. The notion that Kyla Ross and Katelyn Ohashi are going to get lowballed is laughable. Those two athletes have more than half of all 10s that have been awarded in the entire NCAA this year. I don’t think judges are afraid to score them highly whenever it is that they might be competing.

      As far as the “LOL that people think they can win” thing, they were even more inconsistent last year and came out with the win. They have the talent to be able to win the meet. They may pull it off, they may not, just like any other team that has ever been one of the favorites to win.

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  14. If I am UCLA, I would very strongly consider altering the lineup rotation on floor to put Ross up 3rd and Ohashi 4th. I would then monitor the scores before gymnasts 5 and 6 go. Depending on how much of a cushion they have, they might be better off intentionally counting a fall to score second place in the regional. Ending on floor in the championship would be a huge advantage for them. Sounds crazy, but Floor is such a strength for them. If it’s OU on vault vs. UCLA on floor in the final rotation, I really like UCLA’s chances

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    1. If they do this, I will be so angry- especially for the number two in that final who would, absent that bit of tomfoolery, FINALLY get some luck of the draw. I also can’t imagine UCLA actually chancing this.

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    2. The margin between second and third place is likely to be pretty small. How exactly would they go about screwing up their routines in such a way that they knew they’d manage to score in that tight gap between the second and third place teams?

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  15. I know Utah gets its fair share of attention in the gymternet so I’m not implying that at all, but I am just blown away at the year-end-year-out consistency of their team. They’ve made the national championships for 44 years straights which is pretty amazing longevity. I know they haven’t won the entire thing in a few years (although I still say they should have won it in 2015), they are always at or near the top. I’m not sure there’s a comparable stat for any other sports team (mens or womens).

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    1. The next few seasons of Utah teams look pretty ominous (for everyone else) if they keep everyone healthy… some really solid rookies this year and some great ex-elite recruits coming in and IMO Utah is absolutely fantastic at transitioning freshmen into NCAA.

      I’m also excited for a UCLA under someone other than Val. Although they are one of my favorite teams, she’s not my cup of tea, and I think the actual gymnastics coaching will improve with her gone (though her ability to recruit is top-notch and I’m glad so many of her gymnasts speak positively of her).

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  16. tbh, can’t say i think too much will change once val leaves ucla. i don’t see them hiring anyone other than chris waller/jordyn wieber/randy lane. i think it just means that wieber will finally get that paid position

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    1. the thing that will change is I won’t have to hear about “miss val” all the time 😀

      i guess you’re right that there probably won’t be a net gain of paid coaching staff.

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  17. What’s the over/under of UCLA winning the entire thing vs. UCLA not making the Four on the Floor? I’d say they have a 30% chance of winning the whole thing, and a 20% chance of not making it to the finals at all. This is all based on my highly scientific prognostications. Also, the wind.

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  18. I love how everyone is simply writing Michigan off. As opposed to some of the other teams mentioned, they have to work for every score they got and have still put up consistent 197s this season. The head-to-head meet with Utah was during Utah’s Senior night so there were a few gifts to some of their athletes. I am not saying that Utah was not good, but the meet could have gone the other way easily. As for LSU, as long as they don’t have a meltdown (like they did vs. Kentucky) they will be in the mix. However they are beatable as well. Don’t count Michigan out as a potential finals participant!

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  19. UCLA at PAC 12s was impressive. Vault is still their achillies heel. I think all teams have their vulnerable moments. I do count Michigan out, because have they ever performed well on the big stage??? Oklahoma amazing on beam and vault…and that is why they will win. I do not see LSU beating Utah. Predictions: Oklahoma UCLA Utah Georgia.

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    1. LSU has beaten Utah twice this year, though? Just curious why you think they won’t beat Utah. I think it will be close, with Michigan in the mix. I also don’t think ending on beam favors Utah.

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    2. Sorry, but that logic about Michigan makes no sense. Just because prior teams have not done well does not mean that this team will perform poorly. Completely different athletes. Also, I don’t know how you could pick Georgia over Denver. Denver is a more consistent squad.

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  20. When the Dean of Coaches LSU’s D-D Breaux eventually retires, will she likely announce it :
    A) Before her final season starts (like UCLA’s Miss Val did) ?
    or
    B) After her final season is over (like Utah’s Greg Marsden did) ?

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