If there are two things I think I've established over the past week, I think they are the following:
As I predicted in my Gym Dogs wrap-up Saturday evening, the Gym Dogs were selected as the #1 seed in the Corvallis, OR, regional. Our 2013 NCAA tournament journey will start there two Saturdays hence, on April 6 at 7:00 PM ADT (Athens Daylight Time).
In case you haven't checked out the gymnastics primer, entry into the NCAA national tournament is won by finishing in the top two at one of the 6 regional meets. This makes it vitally important that you are a #1 seed, since that means you are not drawn into a regional against the other top 5 teams in the country. The Gym Dogs achieved that goal, though their regional is going to be one of the more difficult nonetheless.
The Corvallis Regional shapes up as follows:
|Oregon State (host)||10|
It might seem like a reasonable draw, and for the most part, it is. Oregon State has been steadily improving all year, however, much like the Gym Dogs. And in the Pac 12 tournament, the Beavers put up their highest score of the year; a sky-high 197.850 effort (and better than our season best of 197.800). In addition, we'll be competing in their home gym, which is a huge edge for the Orange and Black. And Arkansas is no slouch, either. No one should ever write off a team from the SEC. Clearly, this is strong competition for Danna's Dawgs.
Still, though, it's a manageable draw. If we perform at the level we've achieved over the last month, we should qualify for the NCAA national tournament. Now we just have to go out and get it done. (And it's just as well, really, that we get used to the west coast trip, since the national tournament is at UCLA this year.)
The other 5 regionals are broken down as follows (Vanity/self-promotion note: I correctly picked 5 of the 6 #1 seeds, and placed 4 of the 6 correctly, though it wasn't exactly brain surgery.):
Gainesville, FL Regional
|Tuscaloosa, AL Regional|
|Columbus, OH Regional|
|Ohio State (host)
|Morgantown, WV Regional|
|West Virginia (host)
|Norman, OK, Regional|
* - Note: Bridgeport is a Division II team, and apparently only the second Division II team ever invited to the Division I tournament. Also, on a related note, Division II teams can apparently get invited to the Division I tournament. /TheMoreYouKnow.jpg
Overall, I'd say that our regional isn't the worst, since that Columbus regional looks mighty competitive with UCLA, LSU, and Arizona. The "We wish West Virgina was in the B1G" regional of Michigan, Nebraska, Illinois, and Kentucky should be pretty competitive, too, but that's not a statement of the eliteness of the competition, really, just the close proximity of the competitors to one another.
The bottom line is that we've got a manageable draw. Now it's time to go claim our spot at nationals!