Matchups To Watch: Conference Championship Weekend

The heart of Conference Championship Weekend is here.

If history repeats itself, we’re going to see some incredible action across the nation.

QUICK LINKS: Conference Championship Central

Here are three matchups to watch this weekend. We highlight two that will take place at the SEC Indoor Championships in College Station, Texas and another that will headline the Big 12 Indoor Championships in Ames,Iowa.

SEC Championships

Women’s 60 Meters
Final: Sunday, 5:14 pm CT

It’s quite possible that at the start line for Sunday’s final at the SEC Championships, you could have seven of the top-10 fastest sprinters in the nation square off for the conference title.

LSU’s Mikiah Brisco leads the way with her time of 7.08, which stands as the second fastest time in collegiate history behind Hannah Cunliffe’s effort of 7.07 last year.

Futher behind Brisco are two of her teammates: Aleia Hobbs (7.12) and Kortnei Johnson (7.18). Johnson is tied for third on the Descending Order List with Auburn’s Jonielle Smith.

Natalliah Whyte, Smith’s teammate, is fifth at 7.19 and you’ll have to go back to Arkansas’ Jada Baylark and LSU’s Cassandra Hall in eighth and ninth, respectively, for the others.

Storylines here are numerous, so we’ll narrow it down to two.

Can Brisco break Cunliffe’s record on the same track that Christian Coleman tied the men’s 60-meter standard of 6.45 last year? Competition could bring the best out of the 2016 SEC 60-meter champ.

Will LSU sweep the top-3 spots? It’s very rare that one team could be that dominant. We’ll see if the Bayou Bengals can accomplish that feat.

SEC Championships

Women’s 400 Meters
Final: Sunday, 5:49 pm CT

Lynna Irby versus Sydney McLaughlin: Need we say more?

Few women have impressed more during their debut seasons at the collegiate level than Georgia’s Irby and Kentucky’s McLaughlin. One look at both the NCAA DI Descending Order List and the collegiate indoor record book would show you that.

Irby and McLaughlin are among the fastest women in collegiate history at 300 meters (McLaughlin – 2nd, 36.12; Irby – 7th, 36.73) and they both sit among the top-3 nationally in the 200 and 400.

This race will be contested over two laps in an event that McLaughlin currently leads the nation with a time of 51.44 seconds. Irby is a close second at 51.48. And you better not forget about Florida’s Sharrika Barnett either, who is fourth at 51.64.

Mix that all up and it could have volatile results for the collegiate record book. We haven’t seen a woman go sub-51 seconds in the indoor 400 since Courtney Okolo did so in 2016 on her way to winning The Bowerman. That could change here.

Don’t worry: If you miss them here, you’ll see them on the same track in two weeks at NCAAs with an even bigger title on the line.

Big 12 Championships

Men’s High Jump
Final: Saturday, 3 pm CT

Texas Tech coach James Thomas said back in January that right now might be the golden age of the men’s high jump in the NCAA.

We’re about to see why this weekend in Ames, Iowa.

That’s because Thomas’ prized pupil Trey Culver goes up against Oklahoma freshman phenom Vernon Turner with the Big 12 title at stake.

This has the makings of a heavyweight slugfest as Culver and Turner both cleared 2.33m (7-7¾) this season, which left them in a tie at No. 4 on the all-time collegiate chart. Culver did so back in early January at the Corky Classic, while Turner became the ninth man in collegiate history to clear that bar indoors at the Tyson Invitational two weeks ago.

Before this year, the last time two men cleared 2.33m in the high jump during the same collegiate season was 2013 when Indiana’s Derek Drouin and Kansas State’s Erik Kynard accomplished that feat.

Exactly one month ago Culver and Turner squared off at the Texas Tech Classic. Culver earned the head-to-head win as he finished runner-up to Turner’s third-place effort. Both men had last clearances of 2.30m (7-6½), but Culver took one fewer attempt at the bar than Turner.