(WCIA) — Ayo Dosunmu will not play against No. 2 Michigan, a team spokesperson confirms. The Illinois guard traveled to Ann Arbor but has been sidelined for the last two games with a “facial injury.”
Now the Illini will have to play their biggest regular season game without their preseason All-American. The fourth-ranked Illini will likely be a one seed in the NCAA tournament with a win this week against No. 2 Michigan or No. 7 Ohio State on Saturday.
The matchup against the Wolverines was supposed to happen in February, but the team decided to postpone the game coming off their state mandated two-week athletic department COVID-19 pause — due to the B117 variant on campus.
That certainly ruffled feathers in Illini Nation — considering the women’s basketball team played that same night and the wrestling team was in action the next night. Michigan head coach Juwan Howard said it wasn’t his decision not to play the Illini in February in what would have been their first game back off pause — Illinois had won four straight games at the time The Wolverines have only lost once — an 18-point defeat at Minnesota — the Illini beat the Gophers in the Barn by 31.
But Mike Smith, Franz Wagner, Isaiah Livers and Hunter Dickinson present plenty of problems for Illinois.
“It’s definitely going to be a challenge for everybody, we’ve had a hell of a season so far,” says Illinois guard Andre Curbelo. “We’re here to improve and that game is definitely going to be a statement game, and we have to go into Michigan with a killer mentality.”
“They’re good and there’s no doubt they play really hard,” says head coach Brad Underwood. “I have a great appreciation for their connectivity, they play with great energy and I would fully expect us to do the same.”
The fourth-ranked Illini will likely be a one seed in the NCAA tournament with a win this week against No. 2 Michigan or No. 7 Ohio State on Saturday.