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Gym Begins Its March to the Super Six

LSU finishes third at the SEC championships, eyes a bigger prize

More trophies!
More trophies!

It's been a while since we've checked in on the gymnastics team which is primarily my fault, but it's also a function of the schedule. After the run of playing Oklahoma (twice!), Florida, and Bama, the rest of the season doesn't really compare. This was a front loaded schedule that forced LSU to find their best performances right off the bat.

Last weekend, LSU kicked off the postseason with a third place finish at the SEC championships. That's a bit of a disappointing result, but it is partly a function of not facing teams of this caliber for a month. Sure, LSU banged out the program's first 198 team score against Mizzou, but no one has come within two full points of LSU's score in a month except when NC State lost 197.500-195.5.25, a narrow margin of 1.975.

LSU hasn't been really pushed in a month, and they responded with their worst team score in a month. That doesn't mean this team can't handle pressure on some such nonsense, just that they hadn't faced that sort of pressure in too long.

It would have been nice for an SEC Champions banner to get added to the rafters at the PMAC, but at the end of the day, we're not concerned about the SEC title. This team is good enough to win the national title, so it's about turning in great performances going forward, and peaking on April 19 at the Super Six.

LSU "only" scored a 197.325 at the SEC meet, a disappointment given the team's RQS of 197.72. That's a ridiculously high baseline, but that's the standard this team has set. 197.725 is this team's "average" performance. It's also the score you need to get to beat this team, as Bama won the title with a 197.875.

So where did LSU lose points? Believe it or not, a 49.350 on the Bars might have been their undoing. That's a huge score, and no one scored less than a 9.850. However, this is where Florida and Bama put the meet away. They each scored over a 49.600. For LSU to win at nationals, we're going to need to at least keep it close on the Bars and need to find a another 0.150 points. We don't need the monster score, but a 49.500 might be the minimum needed just to keep in contact with the main contenders for the title.

LSU only scored a 49.100 on the Beam, but as we've covered about a million times, the Beam is a sadistic torture device invented by someone who clearly hates people. Florida won the Beam with a 49.350 score. There's just not that many points available on the Beam. LSU can score better, and they were forced to carry Dickson's 9.725 because of Jessie Jordan's fall leading to a 9.325. Jordan's our best on the Beam, and that was worth somewhere between a tenth or even two tenths of a point for LSU. It was a lowish score, but I remain unconcerned about it, especially going forward. Jordan is going to crush it in the NCAA's.

Which brings us to the Floor Exercise. Somehow, LSU only scored a 49.350. Okay, I get Mathis' low score, which came with a tenth of a point penalty. However, every time I watch LSU on the floor, they blow me away. They are jumping out of the gym and doing some big time gymnastics. Yet their scores always seem to come back comparatively low. I'm not enough of a gym expert to bitch about scoring, but I'm going to do it anyway. I think we're getting hosed. To my novice eyes, we should be scoring higher.

LSU's score actually finished second, so no one was getting big numbers on the Floor, and if that continues through the postseason, we're in deep trouble. The Floor is where we should be putting up our biggest score. That's when other teams need to be chasing us. If the Floor scores overall are depressed, this thing gets decided on the Bars, where Florida and Oklahoma have the edge.

LSU enters the regionals this weekend as the #3 overall seed. Take a look at the top six in RQS (courtesy of the NCAA):






















It sure seems that our national champ will come from the top five seeds, probably the top three. There's a pretty huge gap between Utah and Georgia. Georgia, being Georgia, is always a threat, but this should be a three team race.

We know LSU is good enough to beat Oklahoma. We've seen it happen. Now, it is the postseason and it's time to make it happen. Geaux Tigers.