NCAA gymnastics: this weekend's must-see meets
The GIST: Fall weekends may be all about football, but winter belongs to the gym guys and girlies. Vault onto the comfiest sofa spot for three days of the NCAA’s top tumblers. But first? Practice your judging by peeping last weekend’s best leos. Who knew a balance beam doubles as a runway?
No. 13 Alabama Crimson Tide vs. No. 10 Kentucky Wildcats, Friday at 7:30 p.m. ET (SEC Network): The SEC is a veritable gauntlet for women’s gymnastics, with six (!!!) of the current Top 15 hailing from the conference. That’s why both these formidable squads are out for SEC revenge: Bama fell to No. 2 Florida and Kentucky was upset by No. 17 Georgia last weekend.
- But don’t count the ’Cats out. They opened their conference season with a statement upset over No. 8 LSU. As for the Tide, they’ll need to repeat last weekend’s 9.9 score party to drown the ’Cats.
No. 3 Nebraska Cornhuskers vs. No. 4 Penn State Nittany Lions, Saturday at 1 p.m. ET (BTN+): The two top Big Ten teams face off in the weekend’s not-to-miss men’s meet. Aiming for early-season conference bragging rights is sophomore Husker James Friedman, whose recent 13.9 personal best in rings outscores junior Michael Jaroh, the Lions’ rings-master. Can Cornhuskers tame Lions?
No. 11 Ohio State Buckeyes vs. No. 3 Michigan Wolverines, Saturday at 4 p.m. ET (BTN+): Michigan may be the only Big Ten school to ever win an NCAA women’s gym title, but the 2021 champs have competition this year in their storied rivals, Ohio State. The Buckeyes are absurdly close — 0.4 points — to breaking their 197.625 program record, and they’d love to top that 2012 score in Ann Arbor, MI, this weekend. Spicy.
No. 16 Oregon State Beavers vs. No. 6 UCLA Bruins, Sunday at 6 p.m. ET (Pac-12 Network): This women’s meet will be a balancing act for Team USA fans, with a reigning world champ on each squad. The Beavers boast Olympic gold medalist Jade Carey, while the Bruins have her Olympic teammate, Jordan Chiles, in their rotation.
- While either could take the meet’s all-around title, UCLA’s Selena Harris could play spoiler. The Bruin freshman ranks third all-around in the NCAA, higher than both world-champ vets. Damn.