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NCAA Week 8 Rankings

Full week 8 rankings

1. Oklahoma Sooners

NQS: 197.930
Previous ranking: 1

Road 1198.250
Road 2197.900
Road 3197.675
Home/Road 1198.400
Home/Road 2198.175
Home/Road 3197.650
Qualifying Score197.930

Maximum after next meet: 198.080
Meets remaining: 4
Road meets remaining: 2

Oklahoma didn’t change its qualifying score much this week after a meh-for-Oklahoma 197.650 at the Nadia meet, but the big issue at play is the absence of Maggie Nichols because of an ankle injury, with KJ not expecting her back “for a while.” While Oklahoma is certainly still able to score well without Nichols, her absence depresses the team’s scoring potential to a more pedestrian (and potentially beatable) level.

2. Florida Gators

NQS: 197.690
Previous ranking: 2

Road 1197.875
Road 2197.800
Road 3196.850
Home/Road 1198.375
Home/Road 2198.050
Home/Road 3197.875
Qualifying Score197.690

Maximum after next meet: 197.995
Meets remaining: 4
Road meets remaining: 3

With its 198, Florida closed the gap a little on Oklahoma this week and, most importantly, has a chance to pass Oklahoma for #1 this weekend if things go just right. It’s not the most likely outcome—Florida would have to go 198.050 to have a shot a tying, while Oklahoma would have to score under 197.975—but Florida is also going to Georgia on Friday, which I expect to be a “Utah/UCLA is a role model” type situation. So it’s in play.

3. UCLA Bruins

NQS: 197.335
Previous ranking: 3

Road 1197.575
Road 2197.425
Road 3197.200
Home/Road 1198.025
Home/Road 2197.675
Home/Road 3196.800
Qualifying Score197.335

Maximum after next meet: 197.580
Meets remaining: 4
Road meets remaining: 2

It’s difficult to pretend to take a rankings post seriously after the abomination that was the scoring in the final rotation last night (if the judges don’t take these scores seriously, then why should I come in here and be like, “Well, if they can score 198 again…” like any of this is real or matters), but UCLA moves ahead of Utah despite the loss on the strength of a better supply of 197s throughout the season so far. UCLA will be looking for a score greater than 197.200 this week to ensure staying at #3 next Monday.

4. Utah Utes

NQS: 197.200
Previous ranking: 3

Road 1198.075
Road 2197.550
Road 3197.300
Home/Road 1197.100
Home/Road 2197.050
Home/Road 3197.000
Qualifying Score197.200

Maximum after next meet: 197.415
Meets remaining: 4
Road meets remaining: 2

Utah is in a much, much better position for qualifying score after the meet that shall not be named. (I’ll let you in on a secret—the meet wasn’t that good. That was medium quality for top-5 teams and Utah was weaker on several events than the meet before, including beam despite the program record. The only reason it’s being treated as this amazing meet is that the judges tried to make a show instead of doing their jobs.) Despite being in a strong position, Utah will still need to replace some of these low 197s if this ranking is to be maintained. It’s possible for Utah to get up to #3 next week, but that is dependent on UCLA’s performance.

5. LSU Tigers

NQS: 197.165
Previous ranking: 6

Road 1197.875
Road 2197.775
Road 3197.025
Home/Road 1197.500
Home/Road 2196.800
Home/Road 3196.725
Qualifying Score197.165

Maximum after next meet: 197.395
Meets remaining: 4
Road meets remaining: 2

For portions of the meet this weekend, LSU got to experience how the other half lives in terms of judging, so the team won’t exactly be crying a river over a lower-than-intended score because it wasn’t really a problem meet. Not an ideal performance, but not a red flag. LSU is still on an improving trajectory, though is also running out of time to get rid of those lower scores, a task that will be necessary to get that top-4 ranking.

6. Denver Pioneers

NQS: 197.075
Previous ranking: 5

Road 1197.250
Road 2197.250
Road 3196.700
Home/Road 1197.425
Home/Road 2197.425
Home/Road 3196.750
Qualifying Score197.075

Maximum after next meet: 197.220
Meets remaining: 4
Road meets remaining: 3

Basically all your worst fears for how Denver would do without Lynnzee Brown were realized this week with a counting 8 on bars and counting 9.5s on vault and beam for a 195.175 total. That score really shouldn’t be the shape of things to comea mid or high 196 would have been doable in that meet with a hit and remains very doable next week. Still, getting totals that improve the qualifying score in a significant way is going to be a challenging task, which makes Denver vulnerable to getting passed by the next couple teams in the coming weeks.

Continue reading NCAA Week 8 Rankings

Sunday Live Blog – February 23, 2020

Sunday, February 23
Scores Stream
11:00am ET/8:00am PT – Yale, Brown, Penn @ Cornell   ESPN+
1:00pm ET/10:00am PT – North Carolina @ New Hampshire LINK ESPN+
1:00pm ET/10:00am PT – Western Michigan, Bowling Green, Towson @ West Virginia LINK FREE
1:00pm ET/10:00am PT – NC State, Northern Illinois, Temple @ George Washington LINK FREE
1:00pm ET/10:00am PT – Kent State @ Ball State LINK ESPN3
1:00pm ET/10:00am PT – West Chester @ William & Mary LINK FREE
1:00pm ET/10:00am PT – Rhode Island @ Springfield    
2:00pm ET/11:00am PT – [25] Stanford @ [22] Arizona LINK P12N
2:00pm ET/11:00am PT – UW-Stout @ Lindenwood LINK FREE
2:00pm ET/11:00am PT – Brockport, Ursinus @ Ithaca    
3:00pm ET/12:00pm PT – Air Force @ TWU LINK FREE
4:00pm ET/1:00pm PT – [13] Washington @ Arizona State LINK P12N
6:00pm ET/3:00pm PT – [3] Utah @ [3] UCLA LINK ESPN2

In the earlier Pac-12 action, Arizona broke 196 while Stanford had a 2nd-meet-of-the-weekend nightmare on vault to end up with a fairly unhelpful 195.225, which will not be enough to stay in the top 25 on Monday.

In the second meet, we had a close one with no working live scores (FUN!) in which a 9.900 from Leonard-Baker in the final spot for Arizona State on floor clinched a tie with Washington, both teams on 196.875.

Now on to the big one.

Continue reading Sunday Live Blog – February 23, 2020

Saturday Live Blog – February 22, 2020

Saturday, February 22
Scores Stream
3:00pm ET/12:00pm PT – UW-Whitewater, Hamline @ Winona State   FREE
4:00pm ET/1:00pm PT – [21] Oregon State @ [10] Cal LINK P12N
7:00pm ET/4:00pm PT – Big Five Day 2
[7] Minnesota, [9] Michigan, [24] Maryland, Penn State, Michigan State
8:00pm ET/5:00pm PT – [15] BYU @ [5] Denver LINK  

A small-but-hearty day of competition, with a surprisingly low number of meets, but lots to pay attention to.

Starting with Oregon State and Cal, and now that qualifying score is in play, we can do Score Watch. Basically my favorite part of the season. The goal score for Cal today is 197.075, which would put Cal back ahead of Alabama and Georgia after those teams’ large scores yesterday. Oregon State is hoping for a 196.800 here, which would be enough to get to the top 16 (for the time being, with many meets to come this weekend and many more scores to come in and shift things).

Continue reading Saturday Live Blog – February 22, 2020

Friday Live Blog – February 21, 2020

Friday, February 21
Scores Stream
6:00pm ET/3:00pm PT – [8] Alabama @ [2] Florida LINK SECN
6:00pm ET/3:00pm PT – Central Michigan @ Bowling Green LINK  
6:00pm ET/3:00pm PT – Illinois State, West Chester, Southern Connecticut, Ursinus @ Temple LINK  
7:00pm ET/4:00pm PT – Big Five Day 1
[16] Nebraska, [23] Illinois, Ohio State, Iowa, Rutgers
7:00pm ET/4:00pm PT – [11] Georgia @ [12] Kentucky LINK SEC+
7:00pm ET/4:00pm PT – West Virginia @ Pittsburgh LINK ACCNX
7:00pm ET/4:00pm PT – William & Mary, Centenary @ NC State LINK ACCNX
7:30pm ET/4:30pm PT – [20] Auburn @ [14] Arkansas LINK SECN
7:30pm ET/4:30pm PT – UW-Oshkosh @ UW-Eau Claire    
7:30pm ET/4:30pm PT – Gustavus Adolphus @ UW-La Crosse   FREE
8:00pm ET/5:00pm PT – [1] Oklahoma v. [25] Stanford @ Oklahoma City, OK LINK OU($)
9:00pm ET/6:00pm PT – [6] LSU @ [18] Missouri LINK SECN
9:00pm ET/6:00pm PT – [17] Iowa State @ [19] Southern Utah LINK FREE
9:00pm ET/6:00pm PT – Utah State, UC Davis, Sacramento State @ Boise State LINK FREE
10:00pm ET/7:00pm PT – San Jose State @ Seattle Pacific LINK FREE

It’s one of those three-SEC-Network-meet days, but we also have Georgia/Kentucky only on streaming, which may end up being the most interesting of all the SEC meets.

Plus, there’s the first of the two Big Five meets to keep track of. This is the less deep of the two Big Fives, but still a critical competition for Nebraska to get the win with a high 196.

And there’s Oklahoma 10 Watch. So lots to keep track of. Then when it’s all done, you get a couple-hour break, and then it’s the first day of finals from Melbourne. And people always have looks when I say watching gymnastics is a full-time job…

Continue reading Friday Live Blog – February 21, 2020

Melbourne Pre-Finals Update

Here’s a rundown on who qualified to each final in Melbourne and a quick note on how things are shaping up on each event. Finals begin at 6:00pm Saturday local time, which is 2:00am ET/11:00pm PT in US time, and are indeed streaming at the Olympic Channel.

Men’s Floor

  1. Kirill Prokopev – 15.000
  2. Ryu Sunghyun – 14.500
  3. Milad Karimi – 14.433
  4. Rayderley Zapata – 14.066
  5. Ethan Dick – 13.966
  6. Jorge Vega Lopez – 13.933
  7. Yahor Sharamkou – 13.900
  8. Bram Verhofstad – 13.633

Rayderley Zapata achieved his first goal, which was making the final. Qualifying in 4th may be a bit of a concern for him, though he is currently in a position of control and can therefore afford not to win this event and still be the frontrunner to get the Olympic spot. For now. The door remains open for someone like Prokopev, and if Prokopev were to win the title here, he’s in this race. Still, he has left it quite late and would need to be very good at everything remaining.

(Prokopev’s quest to challenge Zapata would also be helped if the FIG does not end up redistributing points from those who qualified to the Olympics as individuals. The original rules discuss redistributing points from those who qualified as part of teams, but makes no mention of individuals. Which is insane, but also…FIG. Part of Zapata’s frontrunner status is based on his gaining points redistributed from Yulo, Dolgopyat, and Shatilov.)

Tomas Gonzalez did not advance to the final, and I don’t want to talk about it.

Women’s Vault

  1. Jade Carey – 15.049
  2. Shoko Miyata – 14.166
  3. Coline Devillard – 14.050
  4. Ahtziri Sandoval – 13.916
  5. Maria Paseka – 13.883
  6. Angelina Radivilova – 13.883
  7. Teja Belak – 13.849
  8. Tkasa Kysselef – 13.733

Carey did what she had to do in qualification, scoring nearly a point better than anyone else and moving ever closer to the almost-basically-assured-but-not-quite-mathematically-guaranteed Olympic spot status she can reach with a victory here. Maria Paseka did not go for anything near full difficulty in qualification, but I’m sure we can count on her to chuck some insanity in the final. It also looks like Devillard fell on her DTY, but she would be the other closest challenger to Carey if she hits in the final.

Continue reading Melbourne Pre-Finals Update

NCAA Week 8 Preview

Full schedule and links

Marquee Meet

[3] Utah @ [3] UCLA

Sunday, February 23rd, 3:00pm PT – ESPN2

Well, look how that worked out. Utah and UCLA find themselves tied in the rankings heading into their annual wackadoo dual that is truly going to be a sight this year. What do we think…three 10s? Five?

UCLA has been the stronger team over the last couple seasons and is hosting the meet this year, so the advantage will default to the Bruins. At the same time, we’ve seen UCLA putting up some non-ideal lineups lately, and last weekend the Bruins scored basically the same thing for a (semi) hit meet as Utah did for counting a fall on floor. That’s why Utah will feel, with a hit meet, this thing is very winnable, even on the road.

While it’s all been “Utah’s beam, Utah’s beam, Utah’s beam” (and we’ll get there), at least equally critical in this performance will be vault. Utah’s vaulting last week was excellent in the Y1.5 landings department from Hall-Burch-Tessen, a serious step—or seven—better than what we had seen earlier in the season. If repeated, and if UCLA is still hopping around on those 1.5s, vault provides Utah with a chance for a legitimate multi-tenth advantage. Because UCLA is theoretically the stronger team on bars and floor, Utah will be particularly keen to muffle that advantage with its vaulting performance so that winning doesn’t have to be all about beam.

As for beam, that’s obviously going to be THE TEST of this meet because it has been easily Utah’s best event this year while it has been the rebellious problem child for UCLA. But when you look at the gymnasts in these lineups, Utah shouldn’t actually be any better than UCLA on beam given that the Bruins can put up people like Ross and Glenn and Flatley. The difference between the two beam teams has been consistency, health, and confidence. So most important for UCLA will be not just hitting beam but hitting to the lineup’s actual potential. Last week’s 49.275, for instance, was an improvement on some of the weeks before, but still not enough to cut it or to minimize the beam difference that rankings tell us exists between these two.

Much depends on the actual fullness of UCLA’s lineups. I mentioned that the Bruins should be the better team on bars, but that’s fairly contingent on Frazier being in the lineup for a 9.9+ routine to complete that unassailable Flatley-Kocian-Frazier-Ross punch. Meanwhile, floor has certainly done the job—being ranked #1 and all—but Flatley-Lashbrooke-Andres is not the final, ideal, postseason leadoff group with the highest scoring potential. Now, I mean, it’s UCLA at home in a big regular season meet. They could put up Nicki Shapiro doing a yoga workshop in the third spot and get 9.875 for it (the dream), but if there are tenths that need to be made up in the final rotation, you want gymnasts like Frazier and Tratz in there for the most likely 9.9+ scores.

This is going to be a fun one.

Continue reading NCAA Week 8 Preview