Top-ranked Florida looks to defend its league title at the highly competitive Southeastern Conference championships, set for March 22 in the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex (BJCC) in Birmingham, Ala.
Four of the nation’s top-10 teams -- No. 1 Florida, No.2 LSU, No. 4 Alabama and No. 6 Georgia -- are among the eight-team SEC field. This is the 17th time a league team has brought the No. 1 ranking into the SEC meet and the fifth time UF has brought the top ranking (2007, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014). Of the nation’s top 20 team scores posted this season, 14 came from SEC programs, including nine of the top 12. In addition, an all-around total of 39.60 or above has been posted 41 times this season among the nation’s collegiate gymnasts -- and SEC gymnasts have 27 of those marks.
With the addition of Missouri to the league in 2013, the format for the SEC championships is now two four-team sessions. Teams seeded No. 5-8 (based on March 17 regional qualifying scores) compete in Saturday’s opening session at 3 p.m. ET followed by seeds 1-4 at 7 p.m. ET. Scores from the two sessions are combined to determine the team and event champions. As the top seed in the evening session, Florida earned the Olympic rotation (vault-bars-beam-floor) for Saturday’s competition.
The Gators’ collected their second consecutive and ninth overall SEC team title on March 23 in North Little Rock, Ark. Florida’s winning total of 198.00 was the nation’s top road score of 2013.
It was a tightly contested meet, as the lead moved among the teams through the opening three rotations and the 2013 marked the first time in the meet’s 33-year history the top four teams all posted final team totals of 197 or better. Alabama was second at 197.80, followed by LSU (197.70), Georgia (197.325), Auburn (196.55), Arkansas (196.40), Missouri (195.525) and Kentucky (194.60).
Utah is the No. 1 seed in the 2014 Pac-12 championships, slated for Saturday in Berkeley, Calif. The Utes will compete in the afternoon session against seeds 2-4 -- UCLA, Stanford and Oregon State -- starting at 4 p.m. ET in Haas Pavilion on California's campus. Competing in the evening session is No. 5 seed California, along with No. 6-8 seeds Arizona, Arizona State and Washington at 10:30 p.m.
Seven of the eight Pac-12 teams enter the championships ranked in the top 25 -- No. 5 Utah, No. 7 UCLA, No. 10 Stanford, No. 11 Oregon State, No. 19 California, No. 21 Arizona and No. 22 Arizona State. Seeding into the Pac-12 championships is based on the Mar. 17 regional qualifying scores. All three Pac-12 championships to date have featured the same top four seeds: Utah, UCLA, Oregon State and Stanford. Utah's rotation order will be vault, bars, beam and floor. The rotation order was determined by a blind draw at the coaches meeting in September.
Utah has three gymnasts ranked No. 1 in the nation this week -- Tory Wilson and Kailah Delaney are tied for first on vault (9.945 regional qualifying score) and Georgia Dabritz is tied for first on bars (9.940 RQS). A Ute won or tied for first in every uneven bar and floor exercise competition in the regular season. Dabritz won or tied for 9-of-10 bar titles and Nansy Damianova won the other.
No. 8 Michigan (15-4, 5-2 Big Ten) looks to defy the odds and win its 21st Big Ten title as it begins the postseason at the 2014 Big Ten Championships, held on Saturday inside Rec Hall on the campus of Penn State in State College, Pa. By virtue of last Saturday's third-place finish at the Big Ten Quad, Michigan will compete in the afternoon session (noon ET) alongside Iowa, Michigan State and No. 24 Ohio State. The remaining four teams -- No. 9 Nebraska, No. 13 Illinois, No. 14 Penn State and No. 16 Minnesota -- will compete in the evening session (5 p.m.). The team with the highest overall score from either session will be crowned Big Ten champion.
Michigan has won more Big Ten championships than any other program (19), including 18 wins at the official championships meet and one regular-season title (2013). Its last win at the Big Ten championships meet was in 2011 in Minneapolis, Minn. Nebraska is the two-time defending Big Ten champion, having won titles in 2012 and 2013.
Oklahoma is headed east this weekend in pursuit of the program's 12th conference title and third in a row dating back to 2012. West Virginia will play host to the 2014 Big 12 championships in Morgantown, W.Va., at 4 p.m. Saturday.
No. 3 Oklahoma continued its dominance in the postseason conference award listings on Wednesday afternoon, capturing a conference-high 11 spots on the All-Big 12 Team.
2014 marks the fifth consecutive season that the Sooners have earned at least nine All-Big 12 awards. Every OU class from freshmen to seniors was represented in this season's all-conference list. The Sooners have led the conference in All-Big 12 selections each of the past seven years.