The climb continues to new heights in the NCAA Tournament.
LSU earned the #6 overall seed in the 2023 NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Tournament and will head to the Denver Regional. They will begin their journey on March 31 at 3:00 p.m. in the first regional semifinal against #11 Oregon State, Georgia and Nebraska. The other regional semifinal will see #3 Michigan, #14 Denver and Minnesota face the winner of Arizona and North Carolina, who face each other in a play-in meet on March 30. Denver has the 13th-best NQS in the NCAA but is seeded 14th because of regional hosting requirements. The Tigers have missed regionals one time since the NCAA began sponsoring the sport in 1982. LSU finished 3rd at the first regional semifinal in Raleigh in 2022 and finished 18th in the country, missing nationals for the first time since 2011. All rounds of regionals will be streamed on ESPN+, a separate subscription service that isn’t the same as SEC Network+. LSU will begin their regional semifinal on beam. If they advance, they will begin the regional final on vault.
How the tournament works for teams:
The tournament can seem confusing on the surface, but it makes a ton of sense once you break it down. First, the 36-team tournament begins with four first round play-in meets. These meets are simultaneous dual meets, so the teams rotate like they would in a dual meet, but both teams compete at once. The winner of each play-in meet moves onto the regional semifinals. Regional semifinals, regional finals, national semifinals and Four on the Floor, the final, are all quad meets that work the same way as SECs. For all rounds except the final, the top two teams advance out of each session, not just the winner. There is a tiebreaking procedure that can be implemented if necessary for all rounds except the final. If two teams tie for the national championship, as happened in 2014 with Florida and Oklahoma, they both win it.
How the tournament works for individuals:
There is also an individual competition that runs alongside the team competition. Individuals from teams who did not qualify to regional semis rotate alongside teams who did. The top 12 all-arounders and top 16 best individuals on each event on teams that did not make regional semifinals (as ranked by their individual NQS) get sent to regionals to compete routines after the team with which they rotate finishes their rotation. They are attempting to qualify for nationals as an individual for a chance at an individual national championship. There are two ways to become eligible for an individual national championship. The first is to be a member of a team that advances from regional finals to national semifinals. The second is to have the highest score in regional semifinals on an event or in the all-around from the teams that fail to qualify for nationals (including individual qualifiers rotating in regional semis). Five individuals come from each regional, so if a gymnast has the best score on two events, they advance on their best event. All individual national championship competition occurs during the two national semifinals, and the winners on vault, bars, beam, floor and all-around are determined by the best score in each from both sessions combined. There is a tiebreaking procedure for advancing out of regionals, but there is no tiebreaking procedure for individual national titles as seen with the 2021 national vault title earned by Oklahoma’s Anastasia Webb and LSU’s Haleigh Bryant.
I hope these explanations cleared up any confusion you might’ve had going into what’s sure to be an exciting tournament.