At the halfway mark, this NCAA Championship has been one of the closest in recent memory. Scoring out the prelims results tells us one thing: expect it to stay that way.
Separated by just a single point after last night, Cal and Texas are each in line to put up exactly 157 points tonight based on prelims swims, keeping the projected standings after tonight still incredibly tight.
These projections, of course, don’t include diving (where Texas is likely to get a big boost) or the 800 free relay, which has early heats already completed by will wrap up tonight with the final two heats featuring both Cal and Texas (though the psych sheet scoring does include the 800).
After we scored out the psych sheets a month back, we’ve been comparing the two scores to see which teams have moved up from their seeds and which teams have fallen off. Unsurprisingly, Cal and Texas were once again the biggest risers from their seeds, with Texas gaining 76 points and Cal picking up 46.
For Texas, those points came everywhere, as the Longhorns are projected to score more than they were seeded in every event besides the 100 breast. Their biggest event will be the 100 fly, where a psych sheet 29 points became a prelims 44 with Jack Conger moving up and Tripp Cooper and Will Glass both making the A final.
Cal got a big boost in the backstroke, with Ryan Murphy moving up to the top seed and Tony Cox rising to join him in the A field.
That’s in stark contrast to the other two teams in the title hunt at this point, Florida and Michigan. The Gators lost 17 points from seeds, with the biggest drop coming in the 400 IM, where 5th-seeded Sebastien Rousseau missed the A final. Michigan got stung right away in the 200 medley relay when a 4th seed became 9th place, meaning the most the Wolverines can score is 18 points compared to their projected 30.
Besides those top 4 title-hunters, other big risers were Georgia (+34) and Missouri (+19). The biggest fallers were Arizona (-43) and NC State (-40).
Reminder: these numbers do not include 3-meter diving or the 800 free relay:
|Team||Psych Scored||Prelims Scored||+/-|
In addition, we’ve combined these projected prelims scores with each team’s current point total after day 1. That should give us a projected picture of what the overall team scores will look like tonight after the 100 back and before 3-meter diving and the 800 free relay begin.
The 1-point margin between Texas and Cal remains stable. Even a disappointing morning by Michigan doesn’t have them completely out of the hunt, as they were seeded to score a lot of points today. Based on prelims, the Wolverines are projected to trail Florida by just 10 and Texas by just 50 heading into tonight’s final two events. Remember, also, that the Wolverines are the reigning U.S. Open record-holders in the 800 free relay to happen later tonight.
It’s also worth pointing out that the psych sheets are much kinder to Texas and Cal today than tomorrow. Both of those teams will have to do the brunt of their work today in building a lead big enough that Florida and Michigan can’t make it up on the final day, as Saturday has some good events lined up for the Gators and Wolverines.
Georgia looks like a solid #5 at this point, with Arizona and USC battling behind them. Also of note is that based on prelims results, Alabama and Louisville could each be running just inside the top 10 after tonight, though there’s a whole host of teams hot on their heels.
|Day 1 Actual||Day 2 Prelims||Projected total after Day 2|