Star Illini guard Ayo Dosunmu is potentially out indefinitely after suffering a broken nose on an unnecessarily hard foul from Mady Sissoko of Michigan State on Tuesday night.
Hopefully more updates will come to light soon regarding the Wooden and Naismith award hopeful's status. For now, Illini and Big Ten fans alike will have to wait.
As the game progressed on Tuesday in East Lansing, the announcers continually stressed how physical the game became. Unfortunately, Big Ten referees did not keep the game safe. Everyone watching saw the potential for issues down the stretch when Mady Sissoko originally fouled Kofi Cockburn in the post after smacking him across the head:
The refs reviewed this play as a common foul, which was suspect at the moment given the replay and definition for a Flagrant 1 foul. On the other hand, Cockburn had his own issues that probably should have resulted in a possible flagrant foul, too.
It got worse. As Illinois tried to claw its way back into the game late in the second half, Dosunmu went up for a layup and Sissoko was up to the same antics:
This play, originally a no-call, resulted in Sissoko's ejection with a Flagrant 2 foul because of the obvious malicious intent. After the game in an interview, Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo said the following:
Now, this quote does not necessarily endorse what Sissoko did to Dosunmu, which resulted in his ejection, but it does bring into question Izzo's dismissiveness of such plays. Sissoko intentionally fouled Dosunmu, and Izzo was fine with it. The Spartans played physically throughout the game, perhaps crossing the line in some instances and Illinois reciprocated. Neither team received penalties. Unfortunately, the Big Ten referees did not keep the players on the floor safe, and now, one of the best players in college basketball could be out indefinitely.
Basketball is sometimes a physical game, especially in the Big Ten, but if the referees let the game get out of hand, there are issues. Updates will likely surface on Ayo Dosunmu's status as tip-off for Illinois vs. Nebraska nears tonight.
UPDATE: Ayo Dosunmu will miss tonight's game vs. Nebraska.