No. 4 Utah (10-2, 197.750) at No. 7 LSU (8-3, 197.615)

When: Friday, 6:30 p.m. MST

Venue: Pete Maravich Assembly Center (13,215 capacity)

TV: None

Radio: None

Livestream: SEC Network+

Series: Utah leads the all-time series with LSU 34-7, but the Red Rocks are just 1-3 against LSU in Baton Rouge and 2-5 overall against the Tigers since 2017. The last time the teams met in Louisiana was at the 2019 NCAA Regional, and the last time the Utes competed at LSU during the regular season was in 2002.

The Red Rocks and Tigers faced off twice in 2021, with Utah coming out on top both times, at the Salt Lake City regional and in the semifinals of the NCAA championships.

Maile O’Keefe is a national champion and the reigning Pac-12 Gymnast of the Year, but she has gotten even better

The stakes

For Utah: Ranked No. 4 in the country, Utah is two-tenths of a point behind No. 3 Michigan in the latest Road to Nationals rankings, and two-hundredths of a point further behind No. 2 Florida.

With two road/neutral site meets remaining, at LSU and at the Pac-12 championships, Utah has two opportunities to raise its NQS — and potentially pass either the Wolverines or Gators — prior to the postseason. Utah’s low road score, the score that would be replaced, is 197.275, recorded in the loss at Cal in mid-February.

For LSU: The Tigers are one of six SEC programs ranked in the top 15 currently, but find themselves behind No. 2 Florida, No. 5 Alabama and No. 5 Auburn in the latest rankings.

If LSU wants to move up — the Tigers are less than a tenth of a point behind the Crimson Tide and the other Tigers — it needs to replace the 197.450 recorded last weekend in a loss to No. 9 Kentucky.

Utah gymnastics wouldn’t be what it is without Minnesota

The gymnasts

For Utah: Entering the season, many Red Rocks were thought to be some of the best gymnasts in the country, and as the year has gone on they have solidified that idea.

Grace McCallum is ranked in the top-20 on every event and is No. 8 in the all-around. She is tied for No. 10 on floor, and ranks No. 12 on beam, No. 13 on bars, and No. 19 on vault. Sydney Soloski is tied for No. 2 on floor, while Maile O’Keefe, Cristal Isa and Abby Paulson are ranked No. 4, No. 9 and No. 20, respectively, on beam.

Additionally, Lucy Stanhope and Jaedyn Rucker rank No. 13 and No. 19 on vault, respectively, while Sage Thompson is ranked No. 25 on bars.

For LSU: Much like Utah, the Tigers have no shortage of standout gymnasts. Chief among them this season has been Haleigh Bryant, the reigning NCAA vault champion. She is LSU’s top all-arounder and is coming off a 39.750 performance against Kentucky (Bryant is ranked No. 4 on vault and No. 11 on bars).

Other LSU gymnasts of note include, Kiya Johnson (No. 23 on beam, No. 26 on vault), Sami Durante (No. 8 on bars), KJ Johnson (No. 26 on vault) and others like Aleah Finnegan and Christina Desiderio.

Exactly how talented is this Utah team? A look at the 2022 Red Rocks

Next up

The Red Rocks make the short trip to West Valley City for the Pac-12 championships. Two sessions in total — a day and an evening session — the competition has been dominated by either Utah or UCLA since the creation of the Pac-12. Both the Utes and Bruins have won the championships four times, with Oregon State the only other program to win.

As the rankings stand currently, the day session will feature Arizona, Washington, Stanford and UCLA, while the night session will include Utah, Cal, Oregon State and Arizona State.

Utah schedule

Jan. 7 — vs. No. 19 BYU and No. 22 Utah State, Southern Utah (Best of Utah)

Jan. 14 — vs No. 1 Oklahoma

Jan. 21 — vs. No. 15 Arizona State

Jan. 29 — vs. No. 23 Stanford

Feb. 4 — at No. 17 UCLA

Feb. 12 — at No. 10 Cal

Feb. 18 — vs. No. 12 Oregon State

Feb. 21 — at Washington

Feb. 25 — at Arizona

March 4 — vs. No. 8 Minnesota

March 11 — at No. 7 LSU, 6:30 p.m.

March 19 — Pac-12 Championships

All times MST