National Open Recap; Live Coverage of NCAA D-1 Begins Thursday; UCLA's Novikov Will Play for UCLA After Suspension in Regional for Arrest
My recap of Monday's East Grand Rapids National Open, which featured titles by Paul Oosterbaan and Anna Sanford, was published today at the Tennis Recruiting Network. It was quite a shock to the system to go from temperatures in the 40s on Monday to the upper 80s today in Champaign-Urbana, the site of the NCAA Division I championships.
I hadn't seen the new 12-court facility at the University of Illinois until today, and it is beautiful. Although the next two days will prove the real test, it appears that both matches will be easy to track at the same time. The men's round of 16 matches kick off the tournament this year, with the 9 a.m. (Central) matches featuring No. 11 seed Pepperdine against this year's Cinderella, Memphis, and no. 3 seed Georgia against No. 14 Oklahoma. John Roddick, a Georgia alum, will take on his former coach and team for the second time in the final stage of the NCAA championships. The noon matches are No. 7 seed Tennessee versus No. 10 seed Mississippi State, and No. 2 Virginia versus unseeded Cal.
The 4 p.m. matches are No. 5 seed Ohio State against No. 12 Texas A&M, and No. 4 seed and four-time defending champion Southern Cal against No. 13 seed Baylor.
The long day will end with No. 8 Kentucky versus No. 9 Duke and No. 16 seed Vanderbilt versus No. 1 seed UCLA. The lineups are available, as are links to live streaming, at the Illinois NCAA tournament website.
In the past few days the rumors of the arrest of UCLA sophomore Dennis Novikov began to circulate, and the tips that I had received suggested both DUI and firearms were involved. Here is what I've learned from my sources about the arrest, which was prior to the regional last weekend.
Novikov was with friends in the Santa Barbara area, where he was planning to spend the night at another friend's home. While waiting in the car for his host to return home and let them in, he took a BB pistol, which belonged to him, and stuck it out the window for target practice on a nearby tree. A neighbor witnessed this action and called the police, who arrested Novikov. Alcohol was not involved in the incident. His court date is in June.
UCLA has a policy that an arrest by an athlete results in immediate suspension from the next game or match, and Novikov did not play in the Bruins' first round match against University of Missouri-Kansas City last Friday. He played in the Drake match and will play Thursday against Vanderbilt.
I hope to have a statement from UCLA and when I receive it, I will post it here.