So, How We Doin'? Michigan State
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I will never understand that play. If I do this for 30 more years, that play might be the one moment I can't get over. A two-hand swing, a broken nose, a concussion, and no action from the Big Ten.
Just think about that. It was a Flagrant 2 - the first Flagrant 2 in the Big Ten last year. There were dozens of Flagrant 1 calls, but this was the only play deemed excessive enough to get a Flagrant 2. The very definition of a dirty play.
And that dirty play caused a concussion and a broken nose. A two-handed Bill Laimbeer swing at a defenseless player get a Flagrant 2 ejection and causes a concussion and the conference took no action. I'll be 74 years old and not understand it.
Let's watch it again, shall we?
We just saw it happen in the NBA this week. Grayson Allen took a two-handed swipe at Alex Caruso, Caruso broke his wrist when landing funny, and Allen was suspended by the NBA. This was a more-violent hit, caused a concussion, and there was no suspension. Alan Griffin was (rightly) suspended two games for a Christian Laettner stomp on Sasha Stefanovic. This one was an actual player injury (broken nose) and nothing was done.
That whole night was so surreal. Hands down the strangest night of the entire season for me. I still cannot get over the questions from the Michigan State media in the postgame press conference. Here you have the first Flagrant 2 of the college basketball season and a player ejection and not one reporter asked Tom Izzo about it. I just went and found the video I made after that one. Here were the questions asked of Tom Izzo:
As part of his answer to that last question, Tom Izzo addressed the Flagrant 2 by saying this:
I AM ONCE AGAIN SAYING that I will never get over that sequence. There hadn't been a Flagrant 2 in the Big Ten since the Alan Griffin stomp in January of the season before. After that one, Brad Underwood led off his press conference addressing it and saying that he directed Griffin to personally apologize to Stefanovic after the game. Here, they honestly talked about how they got back to their "street fight" ways. In a game where a player was given a concussion. In a league that claims to be at the forefront of concussion studies. I'll never, ever understand it.
And while we're on the subject of concussions, at what point is some reporter going to write the "Big Ten Basketball Has A Concussion Problem" article? I'd do it, but nobody would care because I'm a fan who leads with his bias. The Big Ten prides itself on being rough-and-tumble basketball and in the last 11 months Illini fans have seen Ayo Dosunmu, Andre Curbelo, and now Kofi Cockburn go out with concussions during games.
I should move on to this game. This is supposed to be a preview post.
I don't know if Kofi will play. I don't know if Belo will play. I don't want it to matter. This is the team that knocked Ayo out with an intentional foul and then laughed about a street fight afterwards. I don't care about anything but that. I can't even think about matchups and who-guards-who. All I care about is Michigan State's attitude towards injuring an Illini player.
"So, How We Doin'? We're banged up. We have the flu running through the team. Trent fell down some stairs or something. Nothing is going right.
But this prediction will have nothing to do with that. It has everything to do with us needing to let Michigan State know we didn't appreciate their lack of concern over a player whose nose they broke. I'm not suggestion some type of physical revenge. Not at all. I'm not looking for eye-for-an-eye here.
I'm wanting basketball punishment. I want our best performance in a long time. It doesn't make much sense - they're #10, we're #24, and we might not have our best two players - but I can't see any of that right now. All I want is a message delivered. Hopefully with an 8X-5X. I'm not really predicting here. I'm willing this to happen.
Illinois 80, Michigan State 59