The 2019 NCAA Gymnastics regular-season is coming to a close but that only means the biggest and best meets of the season will be taking place, with high-stakes for teams looking to increase their NQS ranking, which begun after last week’s meets. Arguably the most highly-anticipated meet of the season, week nine will be headlined by the massive number one vs number two duel between Oklahoma and UCLA but there’s plenty more to see this weekend.
Here’s three to see in week nine of NCAA Gym:
Marquee Meet of the Week: (2) UCLA vs. (1) Oklahoma- Sunday, March 3rd: 1 PM ET- ESPN
In what is the most anticipated regular season matchup of the 2019 season, UCLA heads to Oklahoma on Sunday for what should be a preview of the national championship next month. The number one-ranked Sooners are looking to take home a win and prepare themselves to be able to win the national title they just missed in 2018, while number two UCLA is coming to prove that they are prepared and able to compete with OU, as they are hoping to defend the national title they upset Oklahoma to win in 2018.
Both teams have had undefeated seasons so far, and the matchup is sure to be incredibly close. Keep an eye out on the second rotation for the Bruins, as vault has been their weakness so far this season, and also the final rotation for the Oklahoma Sooners, as floor has been their weak spot and UCLA will be ending on beam, one of the Bruins strongest events.
Oklahoma junior Maggie Nichols, the reigning NCAA all-around champion, is expected to make her return to the all-around this weekend after being sidelined for a few weeks with a nagging injury, so kep an eye out for her typically huge scores at the end of Oklahoma’s lineups. Nichols has never lost an all-around competition in the regular season in college competition, but UCLA junior Kyla Ross is on fire and could give her a serious challenge.
The meet could go either way, but look for Oklahoma to win, with Nichols back in the lineups and competing at home, to take home the win, although both teams will post huge scores, likely both over 198.
(7) Georgia vs. (4) LSU- Friday, March 1st: 9 PM ET- ESPN2
In an SEC clash, Georgia travels down to Baton Rouge to take on the LSU Tigers. Georgia is coming off a huge upset win against number three Florida on the road last weekend, and they will be looking to see if they can pull off another road win this week. LSU has had a few tough losses this year, but at home they will definitely be the favorites for this meet. Georgia has had a few issues with consistency on bars this season, so watch out fot that in the opening rotation. Both Georgia and LSU excel on floor so watch out for Georgia to gain ground on the Tigers in the third rotation, where Georgia is on floor and LSU on beam, where the Tiger have struggled recently.
Look out for the all-around battle as Georgia’s Sydney Snead and Rachel Dickson are both typically put up huge numbers. Sarah Finnegan of LSU is the clear all-around favorite, as she is consistently one of the top all-around scorers in the country, but the Georgia duo both have huge potential as well. This meet will likely be another close one, but expect the home LSU Tigers to take home the win.
(9) Michigan vs. (5) Utah- Saturday, March 2nd: 4 PM ET- Pac 12 Network
Michigan is coming off of a season high, posting a huge score last week at the Elevate the Stage meet in Toledo Saturday after a very solid performance. They will need a repeat of that performance level this week if they are to take down Utah, who has consistently posted scores in the 197 range all year. This meet could come down to the last rotation, and with Michigan finishing on beam and Utah on floor, where both teams are very strong, it could go either way.
Utah will hope to use their diffiuclty advantage on vault and floor to take home this meet, but with senior Olivia Karas of Michigan back strong on beam and floor, Michigan can make it very close on those two events. The two teams match up very closely routine-by-routine, so expect this meet to be close until the very end. In the all-around battle, the duo of Makenna Merrell-Giles and MyKayla Skinner of Utah will face a major challenge with Michigan freshman phenom Natalie Wojcik, who is coming off of a huge 39.75 performance last weekend, which included a Perfect 10.0 on vault. Although Utah is the favorite to pull out a win at home, look for Michigan to pull off an upset and be able to take this one.
Prediction: MichiganTags: Big 10, Big 12, Georgia, Georgia Gymnastics, Kyla Ross, LSU, LSU Tigers, Maggie Nichols, MaKenna Merrell-Giles, Michigan, Michigan Wolverines, MyKayla Skinner, Natalie Wojcik, NCAA Gymnastics, Oklahoma, Oklahoma Sooners, Olivia Karas, Pac 12, Rachel Dickson, Sarah Finnegan, SEC, Sydney Snead, UCLA, UCLA Bruins, Utah, Utah Utes