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Spanning the RU Sports World: Time to catch up on stuff

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Winter sports, spring sports. There's a lot going on. We need to do some catching up.

Roy DeBoer - used with permission

A new era

You see the new hashtags.  #NewEra  #AshEra

You have no idea.

After I saw Kevin's tweet, I took a quick look at the story.  And my jaw dropped.  Ash not only cleaned house on the coaching staff, he cleaned out just about everything.  Even the colors of the walls.  This is worth a few minutes of your time.  There is little doubt that Ash is a lot different than his predecessor in....well, just about everything.  How this all translates to the field is yet to be determined. But the change is unmistakable.

Olympic sports: once around the horn

Gymnastics

Sometimes, you simply look at growth.  And Lou Levine's squad has done that.  Believe it or not - and why wouldn't you? - the Big Ten is a very good gymnastics conference.  So competing here ain't no walk in the park.

Five Big Ten squads are in the Top 25, including No. 3 Michigan.  Up next.....

It's not the first time I've heard of this, but it is an interesting concept.  Rutgers gymnastics will travel to Maryland for a 2 p.m. meet at the XFINITY Center on Sunday. It is part of a "Beauty and the Beast" in the arena, as the Terrapins' wrestling team will be competing against George Mason at the same time.

Women's Tennis

The squad is 1-1 on the season, having losing to Penn, 6-1, while topping Binghamton, 4-3.  The women travel to Princeton this Saturday and are at Seton Hall on Sunday.

Men's Golf

The men's golf team will begin its 2016 spring season when the Scarlet Knights compete at the Big Ten Match Play Championship in Palm Coast, Fla, on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 12 and 13.

"The excitement level is very high," said head coach Rob Shutte. "Big Ten Match Play to start the season is probably one of the best events of the year because you have all of the conference teams there. It's a great opportunity to represent with your team in that environment."

The Big Ten Match Play Championship is divided into two regions, East and West, with both regions consisting of five teams. Rutgers resides in the East region, which also features Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State and Penn State.

Softball

The Knights will be traveling to Orlando for the UCF Knights Invitational.  They will take on UCF, Fordham, James Madison, and Alabama.

Big Ten Baseball....RU not  among the best preseason

Michigan was voted the preseason favorite to claim the 2016 Big Ten Baseball Championship as voted on by the conference coaches. The coaches voted on the top six teams and also selected three students from their own squads to a Players to Watch list. The Wolverines were followed in the preseason poll by Maryland in second place, No. 3 Indiana, Iowa in fourth place, No. 5 Illinois and Michigan State in sixth place.

For RU, senior Howie Brey, junior Mike Carter and junior Tom Marcinczyk all represented Rutgers baseball on the 2016 Big Ten Players to Watch list.

A two-time team captain, Brey returns as the leader of the pitching staff after recording team highs with 80.2 innings and 56 strikeouts in 2015. .

Carter has shown signs of returning to his 2014 form where he was named a Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American by Collegiate Baseball after hitting .355 in conference play. He was named a team captain in the fall and earned a spot on the conference all-academic team the past two years.

Marcinczyk is coming off a breakout 2015 season where he was named Third Team All-Big Ten. The right fielder ranked seventh in the Big Ten in slugging percentage (.507), tied for 10th in home runs (7) and 15th in on-base percentage (.404).

Farquharson Honored as NJAIAW Woman of the Year

Rutgers All-American and record holder Gabrielle Farquharson was honored as the recipient for Woman of the Year by the New Jersey Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (NJAIAW) at the 24th annual New Jersey Woman of the Year Awards Luncheon.  Farquharson was among the 200 female student-athletes from high schools, colleges and universities throughout the state of New Jersey to be honored. Each "Woman of the Year" recipient has made significant contributions to her institution and community through athletic accomplishments, academic success and community involvement.

And while we're talking women's track & field.....

Attendance: Hoops and rasslin'

When you're in the midst of a 300 game losing streak, it's tough to get a fan base excited.  So, it's little wonder that men's basketball is not drawing well.  Last year, the men averaged 5,770 per game at the RAC.  This year it's down around 22% to just 4,483.  I don't think Eddie has any attendance incentives in his contract.

The women, with a 10-2 home record, are averaging 2,043 per game, down a few hundred from the 2,409 average in 2014-15.  Stringer does have an attendance incentive:  it won't be kicking in.  It calls for a bonus of $25,000 for every 1,000 increase in paid attendance over the previous year.  Sellouts in the last three games - I'm not holding my breath - would put the bonus into effect.

Then there's wrestling.  At he RAC, RU is bringing in over 2,800 per match.  Including the early match at the College Avnue Gym, the season average is 2,550, with one more home match versus Drexel at the CAG.  Last year, Rutgers was No. 6 in the country in home attendance.  Not too shabby.

Seton Hall and The Rock

The other night when Seton Hall played Butler at the Prudential Center, Jerry Carino tweeted out something that he's tweeted a few times this season.

As the crow flies, it is exactly five miles from Walsh Gym on campus to The Rock.  If half of the 5,200 undergrads showed up, that's what Jerry Carino was looking at as the game was about to begin.  The team is 17-7.  And they're averaging just over 7,100 at The Rock; that's 38% capacity.  St. John's is averaging just just a tad over 6,000.  And they're awful.  I know we shouldn't talk, but really?  SHU should be doing better.  Even our men are getting over 50%.  Fill whatcha got.

Some news from academe

Now, if only they could discover a spare $100 million for facilities.

Composite Weekend Schedule

Friday
Softball

James Madison 12:00 PM , Orlando, Fla.
UCF  4:30 PM


Men's Lacrosse

St. Johns 3:00 PM , High Point Solutions Stadium

Women's Lacrosse
Villanova  4:00 PM , Villanova, Pa.

Wrestling
Indiana 7:00 PM , Bloomington, Ind.

Women's Track
Valentine Invitational Friday and Saturday , Boston, Mass.

Men's Golf
Big Ten Matchplay Friday and Saturday Palm Coast, Fla.

Saturday
Softball
Fordham  9:30 AM

Alabama 12:00 PM

Women's Tennis
Princeton  12:00 PM , Princeton, N.J.



Men's Basketball

Ohio State  4:00 PM  RAC

Women's Basketball
Illinois   6:00 PM  Champaign, Ill.

Sunday

Wrestling
No. 23 Purdue 12:00 PM  West Lafayette, Ind.

Softball
James Madison  12:00 PM


Women's Tennis

Seton Hall   12:00 PM   South Orange, N.J.

Women's Gymnastics
Maryland  2:00 PM   College Park, Md.