The Bearcat win sets up the game of the year in the AAC Saturday, as the 9th ranked Bearcats take on the 5th ranked Louisville Cardinals in Cincinnati, OH. A win Saturday by the Bearcats can all but lock up the first ever regular season AAC Title, but first, the Bearcats had to get past the Knights, a challenge that took all of about 10 minutes.
The Bearcats jumped on the Knights early with their trademark defense and had the game in hand by halftime, as they built a 40-18 lead. The smothering Bearcat defense, ranked 5th overall in the country, was lead again by forward Justin Jackson. Following Jackson’s lead, the Bearcats held the Knights to 17 percent shooting in the first half and 30 percent for the game. Jackson is the enforcer of the Bearcat defense, and should easily swat, steal and dive his way to the AAC Defensive Player of the Year; Jackson is as important to his team as AAC Player of the Year candidate Sean Kilpatrick. Jackson ranks 8th nationally in total blocks, and may be ranked first in loose balls dove for, if that stat was kept. The energy he brings night in and night out is what drives this Bearcat team. Kilpatrick poured in –points, to pace the Bearcat offense, but it’s the defense that has Cincinnati primed for March.
The Bearcats are tailor made for success in the NCAA tournament. They have a star on both ends of the court and play team defense as well as any team in the country. That defense will be put to the test as a red hot Louisville team comes to town on Saturday, as the Cardinals have won three straight games by 20 points or more with field goal percentage of 52 percent.