Full schedule and links
 Denver @  Oklahoma
Saturday, February 29th, 11:30am CT – ESPNU
Injury talk. That’s pretty much the deal with this Denver/Oklahoma meet given the events of the last couple weeks.
For Oklahoma, the current Maggie Nichols status is “ankle injury” and “‾\_(ツ)_/‾.” If this is a couple-weeks kind of injury and she’s back for the elimination meets, then it’s truly not much of an issue. In the short term, especially at these home meets, that may mean the difference between a 198.200 and a 197.800 or something—and this would be an opportune time to get Olivia Trautman back on floor and Karrie Thomas back on beam to help remove some of those 9.800s—but it’s far from the end of the world. Oklahoma is already set for qualifying score and could put Lou out there on three events and be fine. (His beam is really coming along. His sissone is a peach.)
As for Denver, it would have been exceedingly difficult to defeat Oklahoma at the best of times, but given Denver’s roster depletion and struggles last week, this meet isn’t about a win. An actual victory in this meet for Denver would be a getting-back-on-your-feet score, even if it comes up well short of Oklahoma’s number.
Last weekend’s 195.1 really should be an aberration rather than the new normal. On bars, Lockhart and Morton both got 8s, but Lockhart did hit the week before for 9.8 and Morton has received 9.6s in exhibition routines (also Karr got 9.775 for what was pretty much her normal routine until she college-saluted herself out of a stick and it was weird). A hit from the currently competing group, while certainly not a given, should improve Denver’s score by more than a point.
The floor result last week was pretty solid (despite a fall, since it was dropped) and beam saw uncharacteristic struggles from Ruiz and Lockhart, people who have been hitting this season and were in the lineup even before the injury apocalypse. Vault remains the worry for me, with Fitts debuting in the lineup last weekend and falling on a full, meaning Lockhart had to do a layout that counted.
The ideal will be to get Lockhart in there with a full, but at this point Denver has to allow for the possibility of going sub-49 on vault and having to make it up on the other events. Which is doable. A high 196 should still be treated as very possible, and a 197 here for Denver would be a massive result.
Continue reading NCAA Week 9 Preview →