Illinois will be without Alan Griffin for their next two contests after being suspended by the Big Ten. Conference Commissioner Kevin Warren issued a statement on the situation on Thursday via a press release, “After a thoughtful and thorough review of this incident, we are all extremely fortunate this did not create a hostile and unsafe environment for the players, coaches, game officials and fans.”
"That's just absolutely ridiculous, uncalled for and he should be gone."— ESPN (@espn) January 22, 2020
Illinois' Alan Griffin was ejected after stepping on a Purdue player. pic.twitter.com/LzG9GWqkap
Griffin stepped on Sasha Stefanovic after the Purdue guard attempted a layup in the eight minute of Tuesday night’s matchup. Griffin issued an apology via his personal Twitter:
While this was a dark spot for the Illini, the team was able to pull away from Purdue after being down at halftime. Illinois outscored the Boilermakers by 18 after the intermission, on their way to another conference win. Griffin’s absence will be big as he’s been Brad Underwood’s best scoring threat off the bench this season. It doesn’t help matters that the Illini will be facing two tough opponents during Griffin’s suspension.
Michigan has been reeling as of late, losing four of their last five games. However, we have to remind ourselves that this is the same Wolverines team that beat Iowa State, North Carolina, and Gonzaga on consecutive days earlier this season. The Wolverines have also won eight of their ten home games this year so Illinois will need to adjust on the fly. The Illini then host Minnesota who is fighting for an NCAA Tournament spot.
In a year that parity is at an all-time high, every game counts. Hopefully for Illinois fans, they can overcome this situation and continue their roll as the Illini are ranked for the first time in five years.