See Part 1
Afternoon: Alabama, Auburn, Missouri, Arkansas
Evening: LSU, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky
The LSU v. Florida show in the evening session of the SEC Championship is the headlining clash across all the conference championships, with neither the #3 team nor the #4 team in the country truly claiming favored status. You know. Because 3 and 4. Early in the season, the SEC title looked to be Florida’s to run away with, Florida as the deeper team with more solidified lineups of 9.9s compared to an LSU team that lost starring routines from last season, had to develop some backups on several events, and suffered multiple conference losses, including to Florida at home. Recent scores, however, have leveled the picture, even allowing LSU to jump ahead of Florida in the rankings this past weekend.
Where I see this thing hinging more than anything else is in the vault landings. Florida’s nemesis this season has been controlling those 1.5s, which has allowed LSU to develop a comparative advantage as it built four reliable 10.0 starts into its own lineup—plus a full from Finnegan that gets overlooked because it doesn’t have the difficulty but provides a solid .075-.10 advantage over fulls from Florida depending on the day. Florida ends this competition on vault, and hopping forward on Y1.5s for 9.825 while LSU is simultaneously on floor is a recipe for losing. Even Trinity Thomas probably can’t expect to hop into the gulf on her 1.5 and still get 9.900 at SECs. Florida is going to need to stick a couple, and keep those hops at .05 size on the rest.
That last rotation will be a thrilling (potentially triggering) comparison because even though floor is floor, LSU’s floor isn’t necessarily the on-lock scoring machine it was in previous seasons. It seems that Edney has worked out her early season landing troubles, but we still don’t really know who the sixth member of the lineup will be (Campbell, Dean…Priessman? [cross yourself]), and there’s some roll-the-dice landing control issues for people like Desiderio early on. That’s why Florida has developed a tenth of an advantage over LSU in floor NQS, an advantage Florida will expect to come through in this meet.
It’s also why those troublesome vault landings are so important for Florida. Because the other events are there. Florida has what should be the more complete lineups on bars and beam, particularly through the middle where LSU has a couple routines they’re hoping to get through for 9.850 without too many form deductions being noticed before getting to the 9.950 sisters at the end, while Florida will view anything lower than 9.9 for any routine in those lineups as an off performance. Continue reading Conference Championships Preview – Part 2