gymnastics-men-nc flag | January 30, 2014

Top-five teams set to clash in Big Ten matchup in Ann Arbor

No. 2 Michigan vs. No. 4 Ohio State

The defending NCAA and Big Ten champion Michigan (8-0, 4-0 Big Ten) will raise the 2013 NCAA and Big Ten championship banner to the rafters of Cliff Keen Arena on Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. as the Wolverines open the 2014 home slate by hosting Ohio State (3-2-1, 2-2-1 Big Ten).

U-M will have its full team for the first time this season, as United States National Team members Sam Mikulak and Stacey Ervin will be donning the Maize and Blue after each missed a meet this season due to national team training camps.

The Buckeyes own a team average of 430.750 and are the No. 1 pommel horse team in the country (72.65) thanks to Michael Newburger. He is the No. 1 pommel horse competitor in the NCAA , as well as the NCAA record-holder on the event (16.25). Additionally, the Buckeyes are No. 2 on vault (73.700), and No. 3 on high bar (71.225). No. 5 Larry Mayer (15.025) and No. 8 Logan Melander (14.925) anchor the vault unit, while Misha Koudinov is tied for the top spot in the country on high bar (15.00).

No. 1 Oklahoma vs. No. 10 Iowa

Current No. 1 Oklahoma is set to to take on Iowa at 6 p.m. Saturday in the McCasland Field House.

OU maintained its perfect record and top ranking after a win at No. 7 Minnesota in its most recent meet. While the Sooners will take the victory, they are eager to take to the gym this Saturday to improve on an only so-so performance in Minneapolis.

Junior Kanji Oyama also returns this week for OU after staying home from the trip north due to illness. Oyama ranks fifth in the nation in the all-around and will give the Sooners a boost.

No. 7 Minnesota, No. 8 Illinois, No. 9 Nebraska

The Gophers will compete at home in the Sports Pavilion for the second-consecutive meet at 8 p.m. this Saturday as they welcome Big Ten Conference rivals Illinois and Nebraska.

The Gophers faced the top team in the country last weekend, welcoming No. 1 Oklahoma to the Sports Pavilion. Despite four individual first-place finishes, the Gophers came up short against the Sooners by a score of 431.900 to 427.650. The Gophers posted the top score in four events with from big performances by gymnasts Ellis Mannon (pommel horse, 14.950), Sean Bauer (still rings, 15.100), Paul Montague Jr. (parallel bars, 14.800) and Zach Chase (vault, 15.200).

The meet’s Louis J. Cooke award for top performer went to Sean Bauer, who in addition to his big score on still rings, tied for third in the floor exercise (14.900) and scored a 14.500 on vault. The Gophers improved their overall score for the second week in a row as well.

The Gophers have already run into the fighting Illini this year, as they competed against Illinois at the Windy City Invitational. While the Gophers finished fourth with a score of 424.800, Illinois tied with Ohio State for second place with a score of 436.050. At the Windy City Invitational, the Illini were the best team on the floor exercise, with a team score of 72.800.

Minnesota has yet to face Nebraska this year as the team was not at the Windy City Invitational, but the teams met twice last year outside of the Big Ten Championships. The Gophers took first place in both meets against Nebraska, with scores of 431.200 and 430.300.

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