Utah's gymnastics team isn't going to gripe about being in a session with the three teams that held the top spots in the final poll of the regular season.
After Saturday's drama during the NCAA Regional Championships, the Utes are just glad to be going to the NCAA Championships, scheduled for April 15-17.
The Utes, who start on the uneven bars, are seeded with Alabama, Oregon State, Florida, Nebraska and Kent State.
Utah lost to Florida and Oregon State earlier in the year and beat Nebraska, the Big 12 champion. The Gators finished the season ranked No. 1, followed by Alabama, which won the SEC title, and Oregon State, which won the Pac-10 title.
The competition looks tough, but the days of the top teams cruising into the Super Six are over anyway, Utah coach Greg Marsden said.
Saturday's regional competitions in which the Utes and several other teams barely survived reminded everyone of that fact, he said.
"It's a reflection of where we are as a sport," Marsden said. "There are a lot of good teams out there and if you have any problems anywhere you crack the door open for someone else."
Kent State pulled the biggest surprise Saturday, entering its regional competition as a sixth seed but finishing second behind Michigan. Stanford, ranked fourth going into that competition, didn't even qualify for nationals.
Utah struggled in its region and Florida qualified by edging Boise State by just 0.025 in their region.
Illinois, ranked 14th at season's end, edged No. 11 Penn State in its regional and advanced to the NCAAs to compete against UCLA, Oklahoma, Michigan, Georgia and Arkansas in the evening rotation.
Given what happened Saturday, Marsden hesitates to pick favorites, especially after the way the dominating Gators nearly missed out on competing for the title altogether.
"After what we saw, I think it will be everybody's first goal to just have a good meet and get to the next night then worry about what happens," he said. "If you have an off night and struggle on an event, it can get away from you real fast."
The one disadvantage the Utes have is competing in the evening session, which means Utah won't have as much time to recover if it advances to the Super Six.
"The later sessions are hard because by the time you get out of the arena and fed and treatments, it's pretty late so you have a quick turnaround," Marsden. "But we welcome that problem."
NCAA gymnastics championship
When • April 15-17
Where • Cleveland, Ohio
Afternoon (10 a.m.)
No. 2 UCLA (6) 394.11, No. 3 Oklahoma (5) 394.045, No. 6 Michigan (9) 393.575, No. 7 Georgia (8) 393.285, No. 10 Arkansas (12) 392.61, No. 11 Illinois (14) 391.85
Evening (4 p.m.)
No. 1 Alabama (2) 394.395, No. 4 Oregon State (3) 393.795, No. 5 Florida (1) 393.615, No. 8 Utah (7) 393.045, No. 9 Nebraska (10) 392.825, No. 12 Kent State (24) 390.695
Note • The numbers to the left represent the teams' seedings while the numbers in parentheses represent their final regular season rankings. The numbers to the right represent the national qualifying score, which is determined by adding the regional qualifying score to the teams' scores from the regional competitions. The top three teams in each of the sessions advance to the Super Six, set for April 16 at 2 p.m.