Illinois basketball is having a fantastic season, and looks to take some serious momentum into March. The No. 5 Fighting Illini suffered a surprising setback against a struggling Michigan State program on Tuesday, though, and the ramifications may last even beyond that one game.
The Spartans, who are just 12-9 on the season, landed a huge win against Illinois, 81-72. During the game, Illini star guard Ayo Dosunmu took a big blow to the face by Mady Sissoko on a drive to the rim. According to new reports, he broke his nose on the play, which led to Sissoko being ejected for a flagrant two foul.
“Illinois star Ayo Dosunmu has a broken nose, a source confirmed to The Athletic,” the site’s college basketball reporter Brian Hamilton tweeted this morning. “He’s been fitted for a mask but it’s unclear when the potential All-American will return to the floor for the No. 5 Illini, who host Nebraska tonight. Dosunmu suffered the injury at Michigan State.”
Here are the two plays where Mady Sissoko hit #Illini Ayo Dosunmu and Kofi Cockburn in the head.
— Hoop Informatics (@HoopInformatics) February 24, 2021
If there’s an upside for the Illini, it is that Nebraska is next on the docket. The Huskers are the Big Ten’s worst team, at 5-16 with a 1-13 record in the Big Ten. Illinois (16-6, 12-4) is second in the conference, behind only Michigan, which is 11-1 in the league.
They finish up the regular season at Wisconsin with a brutal stretch: at No. 23 Wisconsin on Feb. 27, at No. 3 Michigan on March 2, and at No. 4 Ohio State on March 6 before the Big Ten Tournament.
Hopefully Ayo Dosunmu will be able to go for those huge games down the stretch, as the Illini fight for seeding position.