I admit that I did not see Branden Dawson's punch during Saturday's game. It was lost amidst the phantom third foul on A.J. Hammons that altered the course of the entire game and the investigation of Anthony Johnson's elbow against Travis Trice. I knew nothing about it until I was checking twitter while doing a baby registration at Target and saw the preliminary shots being fired between Purdue fans and Michigan State fans.
Now it has exploded to where everyone else in the Big Ten has something to say about it. This first video seems to be pretty straightforward:
This one is a little quicker, but still there:
Michigan State is denying it happened and says that they have video that it did not, but 48 hours later no video has surfaced. ESPN took a wonderful <sarcasm> stance:
Purdue fans freaking out about the Branden Dawson "punch" on Travis Carroll: It was so egregious that neither coach nor player brought it up after the game. Let it go (and also stop using the word "thug," ew).
Allow me to translate: Dawson should be allowed to punch Carroll as many times as he pleases!" this also seems to be the view of many Michigan State fans, as we're not allowed to "Whine" about the play.
To me it is pretty clear that Dawson took a swing at Carroll. I am sure the league is looking into it. The larger issue I have from Saturday's game is the Little AJ-Trice elbow. In that instance the officials reviewed the tape and ruled (correctly) that after Johnson was fouled by Trice his elbow came up and made contact with Trice's face. Trice immediately got up and was no worse for wear, as it was far from intentional. It was still the correct call.
What bothers me is that AJ was fouled first in the act of shooting, but his awarded free throws were mysteriously forgotten. Remember: This is the key point where everything in the game turned because Hammons' phantom foul occurred on the ensuing possession after the technical free throws. AJ was owed his own two shots, which could have made a big change in the momentum of the game. If allowed to shoot he breaks up the run before it starts and it is possible Hammons' third foul, which sent him to the bench and allowed MSU to start their big run and continue it when he got No. 4 a few minutes later, may not start because Hammons stays on the floor.
The second thing I have issue with also involves an elbow. If you'll remember, Jacob Lawson was hit in the face in the first half. Play continued to the other end, then came back and Lawson was still on the floor in a daze! There was no question of reviewing this play by the officials despite an extended timeout for injury where it was very obvious a player was hit in the head. I ask, why was this not reviewed?
This, of course, was the second game this season where a review of an elbow after a foul (or, in the case of the Villanova game, multiple fouls) went against Purdue. In both cases earlier fouls were completely ignored. Trice's foul on AJ was forgotten in the confusion and two players hacking and trying to foul D.J. Byrd on purpose in the Villanova game would have prevented his elbow with competent officiating.
In reality, this is a mess. I find it rather odd that Purdue can have light, inadvertent elbow contact scrutinized and watched like the Zapruder film until a violation is discovered (the officials watched, discussed, then watched again on the Trice-AJ play) but there isn't even a discussion when a Purdue player is on the receiving end, let alone a review like when Lawson went down.
As for Dawson, there is clearly a history there and for whatever reason he has bad blood directed at Purdue. We recruited him pretty hard, but he chose MSU. Since then he verbally taunted Matt Painter last season, had this incident, and even had an incident in a summer All-Star game where he has punched Carroll before. I don't know what is in this guy's craw but he's clearly a dick when it comes to Purdue.
I don't know if there will be a suspension. That is not mine to judge. If there is a suspension I propose that it not be served until MSU plays Purdue again. He's an extremely talented player that has some sort of vendetta against Purdue for unknown reasons. If his actions have been directed at us then there is little value in suspending him for a random game against someone else.
I have long respected Michigan State, Izzo, and most of the players, but Dawson certainly does not have that respect anymore. Just shut up and play the game, ass.