No. 4 Michigan hosts Illinois-Chicago for final home meet of the season
No. 4 Michigan (18-0) hosts its final regular-season competition of the 2014 season Saturday (March 22) inside the site of the 2014 NCAA championships, Crisler Center, against the UIC Flames at 7 p.m. The night will also serve as Senior Night for U-M, as the Wolverines will honor eight graduating members of the squad in seniors Sam Mikulak, Dylan James, Alex Bubnov, Jordan Gaarenstroom, Matt Freeman, A.J. Schottstaedt and Kevin Fraser and graduate student Syque Caesar.
The meet inside Crisler will be the first U-M men's meet in the building since the 2009 Big Ten championships and first dual meet in more than a decade. The end of the regular-season marks the beginning of championship season, as U-M will seek to defend its Big Ten championship on March 28 in Lincoln, Neb.
Michigan enters the meet as the No. 4 team in the country (439.983) and is ranked in the top three on four events -- No. 2 on floor (75.60), No. 3 on pommel horse (73.40) and No. 2 on still rings (74.65). U-M is tied with Stanford for third on parallel bars with a team average of 73.65.
Individually, Stacey Ervin is ranked No. 1 in the country on floor (15.65), while Sam Mikulak is No. 6 on the exercise (15.25). Michigan has three ranked in the top 10 on p-bars; Syque Caesar comes in at No. 1, while Nick Hunter is currently No. 7 (15.033). Ervin comes in at No. 9, with a four-event average of 15.00.
The Flames enter the meet unranked and are the No. 14 team in the country on vault (70.683). The lone ranked gymnast of the Flames is Jason Gaides, who is currently No. 12 in the all-around competition with an 83.35.
Four different Wolverines secured individual event titles, while U-M tallied a new season high on high bar with a 73.45, as U-M knocked off the Nittany Lions, 439.20-432.30, on Saturday (March 14) in the final meet of the season inside Cliff Keen Arena.
The Wolverines led the entire meet, but the score became a bit tighter in the fifth rotation even after an event sweep on parallel bars, led by junior Nick Hunter and his event-winning 14.90; but Michigan scored only a 70.20 on the event. Penn State countered with a 73.30 on high bar to cut the U-M advantage to 3.75 heading into the final rotation. However, U-M countered with the 73.45 to seal the meet as Hunter scored a 15.00, and Ackerman added a 14.90 to secure the win.