gymnastics-women-nc flag | March 6, 2014

Ann Arbor plays host to top-10 showdown of Utah, Michigan, UCLA

No. 6 Utah, No. 7 Michigan, No. 8 UCLA

Three top-10 teams will clash this Friday in Ann Arbor, Mich., when No. 6 Utah (9-1, 6-1 Pac-12), No. 7 Michigan (12-2, 4-0 Big Ten) and No. 8 UCLA (6-2, 6-1 Pac-12) square off at 7 p.m. ET (5 p.m. MT) in the Crisler Center.

Friday's top-10 showdown in Ann Arbor features three of the most successful programs in college gymnastics history. Utah has appeared in the last 38 national championships (including all 32 NCAA championships), while UCLA has made 31 and Michigan 20 national championship appearances. Utah has won 10 national championships (nine NCAA) and UCLA has six NCAA titles. The three teams last competed on the same floor at the 2013 NCAA championship semifinals in Los Angeles in April. UCLA tied for second, followed by Michigan in fourth and Utah in fifth place.

Utah has out-scored the opponent in every meet on vault and bars and has won six-of-eight competitions on floor. Utah's 49.625 on vault on Feb. 22 is the best vault score in the nation this season.

Utah leads the overall series with Michigan 24-12, but trails 6-3 in Ann Arbor. Utah leads the series with UCLA 44-24-1 and is 1-0 this season against the Bruins with a home win (197.125-195.875) on Jan. 25.

No. 1 LSU vs. No. 25 NC State

For the second consecutive week LSU earned the No. 1 spot in the national rankings released Monday by GymInfo.

LSU (8-3, 4-2 Southeastern Conference) increased its regional qualifying score from 197.470 to 197.605 after shattering the school record with a 198.050 against Missouri on Friday, the first 198 team score in school history.

NC State, LSU’s opponent on Friday, jumped into the rankings at No. 25 with a 195.370 RQS, and the Wolfpack are led by sophomore Brittni Watkins who ranks 11th nationally in the all-around with a 39.370 RQS.

LSU and NC State will square off at 8 p.m. ET Friday.

No. 2 Florida vs. West Virginia

Florida finished 2014 home action and opens March action with a duel meet facing No. 36 West Virginia. Meet time is set for 7 p.m. Friday in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.

Florida finished the month of February last Friday with a 197.675-197.40 loss at No. 4 Alabama in front of a Coleman Coliseum crowd of 12,301. Competition was tied after each of the opening three rotations but the Gators had uncharacteristic trouble on the beam which kept them from keeping pace with the Tides’ floor scoring.

West Virginia posted its season-best of 196.175 Sunday afternoon in its win against Ohio State (194.95). Hope Sloanhoffer won the all-around at 39.30, just off her season-best total of 39.35 set Jan. 26 versus NC State.

No. 3 Oklahoma vs. Arizona State

Oklahoma has reached its home finale of the 2014 season: the Sooners are set to face No. 21 Arizona State on Friday at 7:45 p.m.

Oklahoma’s meet against Arizona State will kick off the squad’s final week of regular season competition.

The Sooners have posted a 49.300 or better on balance beam six times this season. No other team in the nation has gone above a 49.3 on beam more times than OU, so it’s unsurprising that Oklahoma is ranked No. 1 in the country on the event. 

No. 4 Alabama vs. No. 10 Stanford

Alabama takes on Stanford Friday at 7:30 p.m. in Coleman Coliseum. The Crimson Tide comes into the meet after posting a season-best 197.675 to beat previously undefeated Florida last Friday, but the season gets no easier with the West Coast powerhouse Cardinal.

Alabama is led by All-American and Scholastic All-American seniors Kim Jacob and Diandra Milliner. Jacob posted a 9.925 on the uneven bars and a 9.950 on the floor exercise against Florida, taking first in both events. Milliner posted a 9.9 on the vault as well as a 9.950 on the floor exercise to end the competition, tying for first place on the floor exercise and clinching the Tide's win.

Friday's meet in Tuscaloosa will be the Tide's ninth meet of the season and fifth home meet. Stanford is coming off of a win at home against Cal-Berkley, improving their record to 13-2. Stanford is led by redshirt junior Kristina Vaculik who is ranked 9th on the uneven bars and 15th on the floor exercise.

No. 5 Georgia vs. Denver

Georgia will conclude its regular season home schedule with a meet against No. 20 Denver at 4 p.m Saturday. This marks the final regular season home meet for three Georgia seniors: Lindsey Cheek, Kaylan Earls and Cat Hires.

Georgia is coming off its best meet of the season with a 197.650 last week against Arkansas. The Gym Dogs scored a season-high on bars and their second-highest marks on vault and floor. Saturday's meet is the fourth consecutive road meet for Denver. The Pioneers won last week at Michigan State 195.675-195.550.

Georgia and Denver will meet for the 15th time on Saturday and the sixth time in Athens. The teams last met to start the 2012 season, with Georgia winning 196.525-193.700.

No. 9 Nebraska vs. Arkansas

Nebraska will close its home season at the Bob Devaney Sports Center at 7 p.m. Saturday facing the No. 14 Arkansas Razorbacks on Senior Night.

With a win against the Razorbacks (4-5, 2-5 SEC) the Huskers (11-1, 3-1 Big Ten) would finish their 2014 home slate of meets with a 6-1 record dropping its only loss of the season to Big Ten rival Michigan. NU holds five wins against top-25 teams and has not fallen out of the top-10 in the national rankings this season. Arkansas will be the sixth top-25 squad the Huskers have faced in 2014.