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Louisville’s Jones to play, Cincy’s Jackson game-time decision for Thursday

Jan 29, 2014, 2:28 PM EDT

Justin Jackson

Perhaps the most interesting game of the week takes place on Thursday evening as No. 13 Cincinnati will pay a visit to No. 12 Louisville.

Cincinnati has been the best team in the AAC to date, sitting pretty with an 8-0 record in league play. Louisville was the favorite heading into the season, however, and while they struggled a bit earlier in the season, the Cardinals have seemingly turned a corner in recent weeks. They’re 6-1 in league play, but they haven’t exactly proven that record. Is a win at UConn really that impressive?

I think so, but there are quite a few people out there that may disagree. Is Cincinnati deserving of their ranking? Again, I think so, but there are people that don’t.

Which, in a nutshell, is what makes Thursday so interesting.

The problem? Injuries.

For Cincinnati, it’s Justin Jackson, the anchor defensively for a team that wins because they can really, really defend. He averages 11.1 points, 7.0 boards and 3.4 blocks, but he sprained his ankle on Sunday and is a game-time decision. “Can’t play if he can’t move,” coach Mick Cronin told Sporting News.

To be fair, Louisville head coach isn’t buying it. “We fully expect him to be healthy and ready to go,” he told reporters today.

Louisville has their own injury issues, however. They’ve been without Chris Jones, who hurt his oblique a couple of weeks ago, but he’ll be back on Thursday. He won’t be starting, however, despite being 100%.

“When guys are injured coming off the injured list, we don’t start them,” Pitino said.