by Bill DiFilippo / @bflip33
One of 13th ranked Cincinnati’s most important players has been cleared to suit up for the team’s showdown tonight vs. 12th ranked Louisville.
Justin Jackson, the team’s starting center, has been cleared by team doctors to suit up and play despite spraining his ankle early in the Bearcats’ 80-76 win over Temple on Sunday. Losing Jackson would potentially be devastating for the Bearcats, as he is second on the team with 11.1 points per game, and is the team’s leader in rebounds (7.0), blocks (3.4) and steals (1.8) per game.
Via WCPO Cincinnati:
UC, ranked No. 13, didn’t really have a Plan B for playing No. 12 Louisville without its best big man.
“Defensively, it eliminates your anchor. As much as SK (senior guard Sean Kilpatrick) is a great scorer, Justin is an anchor for our team on both ends. It’s going put a lot of pressure on us,” UC coach Mick Cronin said before Jackson got the green light.
Jackson plays a crucial role in a Bearcats defense that’s holding opponents to 56 points per game. He ranks second nationally with 71 blocks and leads the team in rebounding at seven per game.
Cincinnati and Louisville tip off tonight at 7 p.m. in Louisville.