NCAA gymnastics: An Illinois preview

Ask Tate about the pommel horse here

Can Justin Spring's Illini continue their postseason magic? Can Kim Landrus' Illini make the most of their second trip to an NCAA meet? Here's why both gymnastics coaches are optimistic heading into this weekend's NCAA Championships.

Men

At Columbus, Ohio

Today through Saturday

Reasons to believe

Illini are fresh off another Big Ten championship ... they're ranked fourth in the country, second best in today's six-team afternoon session (behind No. 1 Oklahoma). The top three teams advance to Friday's finals. ... No one is ranked higher than Nissen-Emery Award finalist Daniel Ribeiro in pommel horse (15.892). ... Tyler Mizoguchi, Chad Wiest, C.J. Padera and Jordan Valdez enter with top-five rankings in individual events.

Women

At Cleveland

Friday through Sunday

Reasons to believe

The Illini are comfortable in the clutch, advancing thanks to under-pressure routines by Allison Buckley and Melissa Fernandez at the Tuscaloosa (Ala.) Regional. ... The NCAA scene shouldn't intimidate an experienced roster. Six Illini return from the UI's first NCAA team (2009) including four — Buckley, Fernandez, Kelsey Joannides, Lashlee Morris — who saw action. ... Buckley, the school's only two-time All-American, is making her fourth NCAA appearance.

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