In our last regional analysis, we're taking a look at the Ann Arbor regional, or as some people affectionately call it, the death regional. We'll look at the matchups, who is likely to advance and if your picks in the 2016 NCAA gymnastics bracket challenge were smart.
In the most tightly contested regional of the weekend, Auburn, Michigan and Stanford are all capable of advancing to nationals and should be in Fort Worth. All three were there last year and two of the three made the Super Six. However, this year, one team will be left home. Stanford did what Stanford always does during the regular season and took a very long time to really get going, not scoring a nationals-worthy score until its last meet of the season. The Cardinal may come into this regional as the technical underdogs but it wouldn't really be an upset if it advanced.
Auburn has actually done better than last year's record-breaking season. However, there's still some doubt, especially when put up against Michigan at home and an unpredictable Stanford team. The Tigers have a lower scoring potential than the other two big teams but have been quite consistent so far. Michigan, on the other hand, has had some major troubles on beam, but hit the event when it counted at Big 10s. If things have been worked out ad there are no more issues, the Wolverines will surely advance, especially considering they're competing at home.
Stanford needs to have a more than great performance. Elizabeth Price needs to be rewarded for her perfection, and might we see Ivana Hong's all around debut? If not, Hong is capable of qualifying as an individual on bars and beam, Price will surely qualify as an all arounder and Melissa Chuang has a chance on beam as well. If Auburn doesn't advance, Caitlin Atkinson is a shoo-in for an all around spot. Pittsburgh's Lindsay Offutt is also a strong all arounder and Michigan has a number of strong contenders should the team not advance to nationals.
Eastern Michigan and Penn State as well as New Hampshire even, are capable of mid-196s and can challenge if one or more of the top teams have mistakes.
Days until the 2017 National Championships