The NCAA Report Card: April 13, 2022

While the official rankings are a great indicator of how a team is scoring, they don’t always tell the full story of how a team is actually doing. Overscoring, injuries, upgrades and downgrades are all things a score can’t necessarily tell you about, so I will. In my biweekly Report Card, I will grade our top teams on each event while giving feedback on what’s working well and what needs to improve to make the Honor Roll – where you want to be to truly contend for an NCAA championship.

It’s that bittersweet period of time before NCAAs where you’re excited for semifinals to start but also bummed that it’s the final weekend of the season. So on the cusp of nationals, it’s time to take one last look at the eight remaining teams vying for the championship. This week’s grading is based on the event average of each team’s three postseason outings (conference championships and two rounds of regionals), with 49.600 warranting an “A+” and grades decreasing with each tenth off a team’s average. For fun I’ve also nixed categories this week and ordered teams in my predicted order of finish, with a quick regionals recap and keys to success accompanying each program.


Vault: A- Bars: A+ Beam: A+ Floor: A+ 

NCAAs Outlook: The Gators have removed themselves from the title contender conversation and cemented themselves as the favorites heading into nationals following the third-highest score in NCAA history in their regional final. Trinity Thomas’ near-Gym Slam and her teammates’ barrage of 9.975s at regionals gives Florida incredible momentum, along with an insane 199.550 scoring potential, heading into its semifinal and must now just bear the weight of the target on its back. Helping alleviate that is the benefit of competing in the weaker semifinal, meaning the Gators do have a little room for error with a clearer path to the final. Statistics agree that it’s the Gators’ title to lose, with simulators handing Florida the championship in just about half of all simulations. 


Vault: A Bars: A Beam: A Floor: A

NCAAs Outlook: Regionals went well for the top-seeded Sooners who quietly cruised at home in a no-fuss affair and posted the nation’s top total of round two. Not only is Oklahoma carrying momentum, but now with the public pressure of winning a title fully shifting to Florida, it finds itself in an even better situation with less external expectations. It’s always hard to pick against the Sooners, with statistics liking them this year as well, giving them the second-best odds of any team to take home the trophy. However, Oklahoma must navigate a tricky semifinal with two other teams whose regional final totals were within a tenth of its own, meaning it needs two strong performances rather than getting to just turning it on for the final.


Vault: A- Bars: A Beam: A- Floor: A

NCAAs Outlook: The biggest asset the Crimson Tide holds heading into NCAAs is its high basement. Its scoring potential ceiling may not be the loftiest, but having not gone worse than 49.200 since January is a testament to its depth, how well it has been able to hit and its ability to negate any mistakes. Per usual, Alabama is peaking at just the right time but does find itself having to overcome the harder semifinal for a shot at some hardware. Not to say that it cannot be accomplished without her, but a healthy and four-event performance from Luisa Blanco could be the difference for a team just on the outside of the projected final four.


Vault: A Bars: A- Beam: B+ Floor: A-

NCAAs Outlook: Although still very in the mix, the Wolverines’ title-contender status came into question during regionals after being beat by UCLA in round two and being the lone one-seed not to hit 198. Depth was a question for Michigan all season long, and when it was needed most, it failed to post anything higher than a 9.850 all weekend. Fully healthy Sierra Brooks and Gabby Wilson will not only be ideal but seemingly necessary at this point with all signs of sub-198 totals falling short of a championship, if not the final altogether. Promisingly, beam finally broke 49.500 to increase the Wolverines’ overall scoring potential, and they still hold heavy odds to make the anything-can-happen final thanks to competing in the weaker of the two semifinals.


Vault: B+ Bars: A Beam: A+ Floor: A-

NCAAs Outlook: One would think winning with a 198.200 would mean the Utes had an easy path through regionals, but their fate coming down to the final routine and needing a 10 to win says differently. Maile O’Keefe sealed the deal, but a fall would’ve likely ended Utah’s season. Thankfully for the Utes, that means nothing outside of momentum, and they’ve responded well after previous upsets this season, actually carrying the third-best odds at the title despite the stronger semifinal and fourth overall seeding. All season long Utah has been using beam to make up for tenths lost on vault, so if it can put together some sticks on vault, that could be the championship edge it needs.


Vault: A- Bars: A- Beam: C Floor: A

NCAAs Outlook: Following a disappointing fourth place at Big Tens and being seeded in the tricky No. 8 versus No. 9 matchup at regionals, Minnesota impressively dispelled a lot of doubts to get to this point. As easily distinguished from the Gophers’ grades, beam has been their make-or-break event, with two hits at regionals enough to distance themselves from their conference championship mishap. Unfortunately, not only is Minnesota in the tougher semifinal, but its three foes particularly excel on beam, meaning it’ll likely take more than just 9.9s from Lexy Ramler and Ona Loper to push through to the final. However, if the Gophers can put up a big total starting on beam, its chances at playing spoiler significantly increase having had no issues putting up competitive totals on the other three events all postseason.


Vault: B+ Bars: B+ Beam: B+ Floor: A-

NCAAs Outlook: The Sunisa Lee effect has culminated in Auburn’s first trip to NCAAs since 2016 and an upset into the team final would give the program its highest finish ever (current best was fifth in 1993). However, even anchoring with the Olympic champion at home wasn’t enough to dispel some miscues on bars that kept Kentucky in the thick of things after being topped by the Wildcats in round two. Even in the weaker semifinal, the Tigers will need to imitate their mid-season 198.575 to likely make it through, but even competing in semifinals gives Lee and her teammates plenty of chances at some individual titles to cap off a banner year for the program.


Vault: B- Bars: B Beam: B+ Floor: A-

NCAAs Outlook: Already not even expected to be competing at nationals, the Tigers get the benefit of having no public expectations on their performance to worry about. Just getting to this stage is a remarkable feat for Missouri to end an impressive season, and it still has plenty of chances at glory with Helen Hu, Sienna Schreiber and its freshmen duo all capable of garnering individual honors. The Tigers may be the reason that semifinal two is the weaker of the semifinals, but that’s something they can also take advantage of should another team falter. Missouri has already pulled off a handful of upsets this season, and a good implementation of the “going for broke” strategy with nothing to lose could give us one more big one to finish the season.

READ THIS NEXT: Data Deep Dive: Simulating 2022 Nationals

Article by Brandis Heffner

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