Category Archives: Regionals

Regional Finals – Where Are We Now?

My previews of the regional finals were pretty limited because we didn’t yet know who would be competing in them (although it turns out we definitely did) or what the rotation order would be, so here’s a fresh look at those finals heading into tonight’s competition.

GEORGIA

[1] Oklahoma, [8] Georgia, [9] Kentucky, [15] Cal

The regional with the most charitable judging overall also went the most cleanly to plan, with Oklahoma and Georgia advancing with the highest scores and what appears to be a clear edge over the other two. Oklahoma dominated with a historically high 198.300 (the highest road score ever recorded at a regional—and a tenth shy of the record for highest road score ever, set by UCLA two weeks ago…2019 sure is fun).

I think it’s fair to say that Georgia used some home scoring to develop a level of separation over the remaining teams that we wouldn’t have seen at a neutral venue, but you can point to gifts everywhere. What it means is that Oklahoma and Georgia look like your favorites to advance, and Kentucky or Cal moving into the top 2 spots would be an upset. Although we won’t really know what’s up until the last rotation because Georgia finishes on bum bum bum…beam. And it was an adventure even yesterday.

Let’s look at this rotation by rotation, using both NQS and yesterday’s scores.

Rotation-by-rotation
Rotation 1– Cal VT, Kentucky UB, Oklahoma BB, Georgia FX
NQS
1. Oklahoma – 49.555
2. Georgia – 49.375
3. Kentucky – 49.275
4. Cal – 49.195

Everything is supposed to be going to plan after 1. Given the way vault scoring went yesterday, Cal will feel it can’t be this far behind at this point given how high those numbers were, though it’s worth noting that the judges do move around events for today, so it’s not going to be the same people.

Friday
1. Oklahoma – 49.500
2. Cal – 49.350
3. Georgia – 49.325
4. Kentucky – 49.125

Yesterday’s scores would have Cal in second place after 1, which you have to think Cal needs to have a shot. Kentucky had to work against a fall on bars yesterday and was a little 9.7y, and can’t have that again and can’t be multiple tenths back after what should be a pretty good event.

Rotation 2 – Georgia VT, Cal UB, Kentucky BB, Oklahoma FX
NQS
1. Oklahoma – 99.125
2. Georgia – 98.740
3. Kentucky – 98.600
4. Cal – 98.470

Kentucky would be totally OK with this deficit after two events because Georgia is heading to bars and beam in the second half, which is where things would go wrong if they go wrong. Kentucky will feel the opportunity is still alive.

Friday
1. Oklahoma – 99.125
2. Georgia – 98.825
3. Cal – 98.625
4. Kentucky – 98.300

And that scenario means that Georgia will be looking to have something more like yesterday’s kind of edge on Kentucky after two events. Cal looked quite good on vault and bars to end the meet on Friday and needs to keep that up today to be in this kind of situation while bringing beam and floor up to that same level. Cal would be thrilled with these exact rankings after 2. Continue reading Regional Finals – Where Are We Now?

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Regionals Preview Part 5: Oregon State Regional

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

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

[5] Denver, [12] Boise State, [18] Washington, [24] Southern Utah

The semifinal of opportunity. Of all the semifinals across all the regionals on Friday, this is the only one that isn’t headlined by a traditional powerhouse, and as such, will be viewed as a major opportunity for all involved.

Still, Denver should advance. Denver has both the talent and the scoring pedigree to record the best total in the session by a comfortable margin, and even though the last couple performances have been more 197.2y than 197.7y, a 197.200 is still a very comfortable score for a semifinal and would cause no problems for the moment.

Boise State, too, will fancy its chances to advance to Saturday after dominating the MRGC Championship a week and a half ago with a 196.950—also exactly the kind of score that will advance from a semifinal. At the same time, we’ve seen lower numbers crop up for Boise State here and there following the injury to Shani Remme, and every second meet lately has been a lower 196, which is a very beatable score for a team like Washington.

For Boise State to be “we got such a high score you can’t even” successful, the team is reliant on bars and beam to deliver huge results. Bars we know about. Bars is always Boise State’s best event, but beam has joined it this season as a massive potential score and a top-10 event nationally. (Gabriela Bouza’s beam routine is the greatest thing you’re not obsessed with yet.) When those deliver to potential, Boise State is close to 197 pace.

For the most part, Washington is in a very similar position, also reliant on bars and beam. When Washington recorded its season high team total at Davis a few weeks ago, the bars score was suddenly at UCLA level, with beam not far behind, and that’s what needs to happen again for Washington to challenge a hit meet from Boise State. Overall, beam hasn’t been the same score it used to be for Washington—taking away Goings, and Burleson, and Schaefer, and now Roberson will do that—but it still should be a relative strength and a score over 49. Continue reading Regionals Preview Part 5: Oregon State Regional

Regionals Preview Part 4: LSU Regional

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

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

[6] Utah, [11] Minnesota, [17] BYU, [20] Arkansas

We need to spend some real time with this first semifinal because it happens to be the best-ranked of any of the semifinals at regionals and presents one of the ripest upset possibilities. This is the showcase session at the LSU regional. All of the challenging teams here will expect a mid-196 of themselves, which is a serious score for a semifinal and not to be taken lightly.

Utah is probably in the clear since even a repeat of the kind of 197.1 performance that characterized the first half of the season will be enough to advance to Saturday with tenths to spare, but Utah has a bit less buffer for disaster rotation than most of the other top-8 teams enjoy in their semifinals.

For Minnesota, the scoring expectation in this semifinal will be something 196.8 or better—that’s what we’ve come to expect in the second half of the season—and that score will be enough get through. But that score also requires a fully hit meet. That means the early vault and floor gymnasts can’t be too 9.725y, and certainly no more counting falls on beam. At Big Tens, Minnesota did count a fall on beam, which took the total score down to a 196.425. The encouraging part of that for Minnesota is that 196.425 is still a legit total, one that will advance from a number of semifinals on Friday and one that Minnesota would love for a hit meet in most seasons.

What saved the score at Big Tens was the massive number on bars, which will be Minnesota’s most important event again in this semifinal. Those huge potential bars routines from Ramler and Lu can either send Minnesota clear of the unseeded teams, or keep Minnesota in contention even if things get ugly elsewhere. Continue reading Regionals Preview Part 4: LSU Regional

Regionals Preview Part 3: Michigan 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

Item 1) Emotionally prepare yourself that if you aren’t willing to go with the Flo, you won’t be able to watch this one.

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

[7] Michigan, [10] Alabama, [23] Penn State, [26] Ohio State

Much of the anticipation for this loaded Michigan regional centers on the potentially insane regional final (we’ll get there in a second, don’t worry), but first some thoughts on the semifinals. In the first semifinal, Michigan and Alabama will be asked to fend off what should be reasonably 196ish challenges from Penn State and Ohio State.

Both are expected to do so. Save for that bars blip at Missouri, Michigan has been going into the 197s for the last month and a half, and Alabama…well it looks like Alabama is finally starting to get itself together for gradually increasing 197s of its own. These two went 197.400 and 197.350 respectively at their conference championships, and repeats of those performances will advance to the regional final. Alabama’s slow start to the season still lingers in the mind, but all of those 196.8s that we lamented early in the season because they weren’t 197s would still be a fine advancing score in this semifinal.

Penn State has been scoring into the 196s regularly enough lately to expect to reach that mark again at regionals and establish itself as the upset threat in this semifinal. Watch out for bars. With the strength of Bridgens and Garcia in that lineup, Penn State can legitimately look to beat Alabama there, hoping that gives the team enough of a foothold in the meet to take advantage of an Alabama mistake that might crop up elsewhere.

Lately, Ohio State has struggled to rise to the quality of its first-month performances, scores that had the team in the top 15 for a time. Of course, the late-season injury to Jamie Stone is the biggest and most compelling reason Ohio State has been a little more 195.8 than 196.2 lately. There’s no replacing those scores, and OSU has found it difficult to come up with a sixth hit in a few of those lineups. Still, there’s enough 9.850 gymnastics on this team that Ohio State can have a realistic goal of rising back into the 196s.

Presumably, Ohio State and Penn State will be fighting each other to become that next-best team, and in that comparison, Ohio State is the more depleted side, having to use a couple “we’re putting this 9.650 in the lineup but need to drop this score.” At the same time, there are similarities between the two, particularly that Ohio State also excels on bars—Swartzentruber’s routine is fairly unheralded but fantastic—and can adopt the same strategy as Penn State, hoping to be the team that does surprisingly well on bars and can therefore threaten a team that makes a mistake.

Semifinal #1 – Score Comparison
Michigan
RQS: 197.320 [1]
Season high: 197.750 [1]
Season average: 196.842 [1]

VT RQS: 49.305 [1]
VT average: 49.185 [2]
UB RQS: 49.355 [1]
UB average: 49.233 [1]
BB RQS: 49.385 [1]
BB average: 49.210 [1]
FX RQS: 49.385 [2]
FX average: 49.213 [2]

Alabama
RQS: 196.990 [2]
Season high: 197.350 [2]
Season average: 196.658 [2]

VT RQS: 49.235 [2]
VT average: 49.196 [1]
UB RQS: 49.235 [2]
UB average: 49.192 [2]
BB RQS: 49.270 [2]
BB average: 48.965 [2]
FX RQS: 49.410 [1]
FX average: 49.306 [1]

Penn State
RQS: 196.070 [3]
Season high: 196.775 [4]
Season average: 195.594 [3]

VT RQS: 48.970 [3]
VT average: 48.796 [4]
UB RQS: 49.220 [3]
UB average: 49.079 [3]
BB RQS: 49.005 [4]
BB average: 48.760 [4]
FX RQS: 49.135 [3]
FX average: 48.958 [3]

Ohio State
RQS: 195.990 [4]
Season high: 196.850 [3]
Season average: 195.519 [4]

VT RQS: 48.955 [4]
VT average: 48.900 [3]
UB RQS: 49.150 [4]
UB average: 49.021 [4]
BB RQS: 49.040 [3]
BB average: 48.767 [3]
FX RQS: 49.045 [4]
FX average: 48.831 [4]

Semifinal #1 – Rotation-by-rotation NQS
Rotation 1 – Michigan VT, Ohio St UB, Alabama BB, Penn St FX
1. Michigan – 49.305
2. Alabama – 49.270
3. Ohio State – 49.150
4. Penn State – 49.135

If Alabama gets through beam with a strong score and sits in a top-2 position, a major avenue for a potential upset here will be closed. We’ll know whether we have a meet pretty early on. Continue reading Regionals Preview Part 3: Michigan Regional

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. Continue reading Regionals Preview Part 2: Georgia Regional

Regionals Preview Part 1: Dual-or-Die

I’m beginning this year’s series of regional previews with a look at the Thursday meets. The first round. The sudden death. The do-or-die duals.

I’ve been excited about these meets from the minute the new format was announced because we’ve never had this kind of win-or-go-home stakes in a dual meet before—nor have most of the teams in this section of the rankings ever been the actual focus of postseason elimination competition before. You’ve never cared as much about NC State’s vault rotation as you do right now. Or will in a second after we talk about it over cocktails. Do you not have a cocktail right now? Get it together.

So here’s what we have.

Thursday, April 4
3:00 ET/12:00 PT – NC State v. New Hampshire (@ Georgia)
3:00 ET/12:00 PT – Illinois v. Central Michigan (@ Michigan)
4:00 ET/1:00 PT – George Washington v. Lindenwood (@ LSU)
6:00 ET/3:00 PT – Iowa vs. Arizona (@ Oregon State)

There’s still too much overlap of competitions. All four should be spaced out in exact two-hour intervals like in a sport. NCAA gym has never really understood the idea of a national schedule instead of a site-specific schedule…because what is this new-fangled intranets box? But baby steps. We’re moving in the right direction.

For most of these teams, escaping the snaggletoothed maw of the qualification drop zone and advancing to regionals was, in itself, the victory. They did the job and can breathe easier. And in previous seasons, that would have been more or less the end of it. OK, you made regionals, and now you can go compete there, and it doesn’t really matter how you do because you’re not going to beat Georgia anyway, and then you inevitably lose and go home. Clap, clap, done.

Now—even though no one expects these teams (with the potential exception of Illinois) to advance to the regional finals—there’s an extra postseason victory that’s realistically within the grasp of all 8.  They’re all in it, with something to compete for, and it’s going to get tiggggghhhhttt.

NC State v. New Hampshire

NC State comes into this one as the ranking favorite, but by only the smallest of margins. In fact, New Hampshire just upset NC State by nearly 7 tenths at the EAGL championship—with the caveat that New Hampshire hosted and the margin may be a little misleading. Though the result is not. New Hampshire was the better team that day. As overall season performance leans toward NC State, and recent performance leans toward New Hampshire, it’s reasonable to find a balance pretty much right in the middle, and the event scores agree with me. Continue reading Regionals Preview Part 1: Dual-or-Die