The Georgia gymnastics team, by virtue of the fact that we got jumped by two teams in the rankings on literally the last possible day of the season, fell to #10, which means that we got paired with the #3-ranked team. That team is Florida. And since Gainesville, FL, was a pre-selected regional site in 2017, that means that for the second time this season, the Gym Dogs will face off against the Gym Gators in the O’Connell Center. Not only that, however, but the #3 and #10 teams usually get paired with the #15 team in the rankings... which this season is Missouri.
So, if you’re keeping track at home, not only do we have to go back to Gainesville and compete against Florida again, but we also have to face off against Mizzou, too. So half of our regional will be made up of teams from the SEC, the strongest gymnastics conference in the country.
This will not be an easy task.
Here is the full list of teams that will be participating in the Gainesville Regional, with their rankings listed in parentheses. The top two teams from this meet will advance to the NCAA national meet in St. Louis.
- Florida (3)
- Georgia (10)
- Missouri (15)
- New Hampshire (30)
- Penn State (33)
- North Carolina (35)
Note that only the top 3 teams in each region are chosen according to their rankings. The next 3 teams chosen are apportioned to the region closest to them. This is why all of our final 3 opponents are very close to each other in terms of ranking.
Let’s look at each team and their chances of advancing to the NCAA nationals.
Postseason RQS - 197.635
Season high - 197.975
Chances of getting to St. Louis: 90%
Look, as much as I’d like for the Gators to humiliate themselves on their home mat and fail to advance to the national meet, it just ain’t gonna happen. (I hate Florida.)
The lowest score Florida has put up all year was a late-season stumble at LSU, where they carded a 196.600. Every other score they’ve seen this season has been in the 197 range. It would take the choke of all chokes for Florida to screw up badly enough to finish out of the top 2. Though I’d love to see that, and that’s the result for which I’ll be rooting. (I hate Florida.)
Georgia Gym Dogs
Postseason RQS - 197.005
Season high - 197.325
Chances of getting to St. Louis: 60%
If the Gym Dogs show up and do their thing, they’ll very probably get through. If we can put together all 4 rotations at the same time in a way we haven’t yet done this year, we might even win the regional. But if we get the yips on beam (or on floor like we did at the SEC’s), then it wouldn’t be much of a stretch for a resurgent Missouri team to pip us for #2 spot in this meet. Mizzou isn’t some also-ran here, like you frequently see in regional meets. They’re a very real threat, and the Gym Dogs would do well to treat this meet just as seriously as they would the Super Six. Because if you don’t finish in the top 2 here, your season is over.
Postseason RQS - 196.540
Season high - 197.200
Chances of getting to St. Louis: 100% on their flight home, but about 50% in gymnastics
The Tigers from the “good Columbia” suffered an injury to their best gymnast early in the season, and suffered under the weight of that missing hole in the lineup for several weeks. They bounced back strongly over the last month of the season, though, and both of their final two regular-season meets saw them reach scores in the 197’s.
Beating Mizzou far from a given for the Gym Dogs, and for that matter, it’s also not a given for Florida if either team has a particularly “off night” and Mizzou cranks up another 197 score. The Tigers are officially hosting the national championships this year (though the meet is in St. Louis, not Columbia), and I’m sure they’d like nothing better than to compete at the national semifinals in front of their home fans.
In short, this is one of the more dangerous opponents that the Gym Dogs have faced in a regional in a long time, and they’re a very real threat to keep us from advancing.
Gym Primaries Wildcats
Postseason RQS - 195.745
Season high - 196.450
Chances of getting to St. Louis: 20%
This New Hampshire team mostly toils away in relative obscurity up in almost-Bernie-Sanders-land, but as you can see, their season high is pretty danged high. If they were to match that 196.450 or do a tenth or two better, they would be a real threat to advance out of this regional. It would be a massive upset, but I’ve been told that massive upsets can happen in New Hampshire.
Penn State Nittany Lionesses
Postseason RQS - 195.590
Season high - 196.200
Chances of getting to St. Louis: 10%
No, I don’t know if they call their women’s teams that, but they damn well should if they don’t. Penn State’s up side doesn’t appear to be as high as New Hampshire’s, so that makes it even less likely that they’d manage to spring an upset of the 4 teams above them in the rankings.
North Carolina Gym Heels
Postseason RQS - 195.430
Season high - 195.875
Chances of getting to St. Louis: 0%
Welcome to regionals, and thanks for playing. As a consolation prize, you get the title of still being the second-oldest land grant university in the country, and of still having the South’s second-oldest football rivalry. Congratulations.
The Gainesville regional will kick off (metaphorically speaking) at 4:00 PM on April 1, and will be streamed live via NCAA.com.
I’ll be back after the regionals with a recap, and if we make it to nationals, I’ll once again opine on why the Gym Dogs are doomed (... DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMED) if we even make it that far.
(In retrospect, I probably should stop freebasing Larry Munson’s ashes when I write these things.)