NORMAN — Before the season began, Oklahoma’s men’s gymnastics team saw it coming. The Sooners knew when the 2014 schedule was first announced that if they were going to be crowned national champion, it would mean going through defending national champion Michigan to make it happen.
With the NCAA championships beginning today at the Crisler Center in Ann Arbor, Mich., it looks like the top-ranked Sooners’ prophecy has come true. Not only are the Sooners at the home of Big Blue, but Big Blue is ranked No. 2 behind them.
“Even though we’ve been ranked No. 1 all year, we’ve always looked over the horizon and knew that Michigan was out there,” OU coach Mark Williams said. “Having to beat them on their home floor, that’s going to be a hard task. Everybody in the arena is really going to be against us, except for our parents. It’s going to have to take some special qualities for those guys to step up to get it done.”
The Sooners will begin competition in the first session of today’s qualifying round. OU gets started at 11 a.m. along with No. 4-seed Stanford, No. 5 Illinois, No. 8 Iowa, No. 9 California and No. 12 William & Mary.
The late session, beginning at 6 p.m., includes Michigan, No. 3 Ohio State, No. 6 Penn State, No. 7 Minnesota, No. 10 Air Force and No. 11 Nebraska.
The top three teams from each session will compete for the national championship at 6 p.m. Friday.
The Sooners believe it will come down to them and the Wolverines, as it did last year when Michigan came out on top by a score of 443.200 to 440.100.
“I think all it’s going to take is consistency and just wanting it more than any other team,” OU’s Jacoby Rubin said. “If we want it and we’re consistent, I think we got it.”