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Gym Preview: Florida

Oh, it’s on.

The Mighty Bug

It’s March, so it’s time for winter sports to get real. Yeah, yeah. There’s this basketball tournament in a few weeks, but around here, it means it’s time for the gymnastics postseason. Two weekends from now, LSU will compete for the SEC title in Jacksonville before the regionals begin on April 1st.

But before then, there’s one last bit of business to take care of. LSU has a near perfect record this season, with its only loss to #1 Oklahoma. However, LSU still has a perfect SEC record to defend, and just one last obstacle to an undefeated SEC regular season:

3rd ranked Florida.

This is a match so big, the usual Friday night time slot couldn’t contain it, and it has been moved to Sunday afternoon. If you only watch one regular season LSU match all season, this is the one to watch (it’s also essentially your last chance anyway… the only other meet left is a tune up against New Hampshire).

Since losing to Alabama, Florida has flirted with 198.00. In two of their last three meets, Florida has cleared 197.900, falling less than a tenth of a point shy of the big 198. LSU fell a quarter of a point shy two weeks ago, but settled back into their groove against Auburn, scoring a 197.675. The two meets prior, LSU scored consecutive 197.700’s. Consistency, thy name is Tigers.

And consistency is great as a baseline, but now it is dig deep time. This is when the Tigers need to amp up and push those scores just a little bit higher. They need to show a little more amplitude, wobble a little less, hold the handstands just a little longer. In short, they need to become a little closer to perfect.

While still part of the regular season, the postseason push starts now. There’s no better way to start a run through the postseason than by closing out an undefeated regular season against the (second) best team in the SEC. LSU needs to assert itself as the queen of the hill.

Right now, LSU has a higher RQS than Florida in every single event. Florida has posted a better highest score on the bars and the floor exercise, but that goes back to LSU’s powerful consistency. LSU will be the favorite on every single rotation, and they will be at home to boot.

LSU rides the home energy to bigger scores on the more athletic rotations, the vault and the floor. The crowd gets hyped, the team gets more so, and then even the judges get caught in the act. It becomes a contest of anything you can do, I can do better. It’s a beast that feeds on itself.

If this is going to be the year for LSU to win the title, they have to go out and prove it. Show you’re the best team in the SEC. Beat Florida. Consistency is a wonderful skill, but now it’s time to be great.

The meet begins at 2:30pm Sunday and will be carried on the SEC Network.