Tonight is one of those pivotal games for the Youngstown State University men's basketball program. Frankly, the Penguins haven't been in this position since the 2000-01 season - the last year in the former Mid-Continent Conference (now Summit League).
YSU was hovering around the top of the league most of the season, but always trailed Valparaiso.
Some things, even a decade later, never change.
Valparaiso and Cleveland State are tied for Horizon League lead.
YSU (11-8, 6-3) rolls into tonight's game one back of Cleveland State (17-4, 7-2), which plays at Beeghly Center tonight at 7:05 p.m.
It's the second go round for these two teams where it's CSU, this time, with something to prove after a 73-67 setback at the Wolstein Center on Dec. 31.
Yeah, it wasn't a good new year for the Vikings.
Even after soundly beating Milwaukee on Sunday, you bet CSU still remembers that game.
"I don't like it because we had a loss we shouldn't of had," Vikings coach Gary Waters said in the postgame press conference.
The Penguins shot 65 percent in the second half and outrebouded CSU 16-10.
It would take a yeoman's effort by YSU to duplicate that feat tonight, but I wouldn't put it past the Penguins.
This is a changed Penguins team from years past. This team, since the CSU victory, has found ways to win games.
Sunday, YSU found something it was sorely lacked seemingly every year it has been in the Horizon League - 40 minutes of basketball.
Instead of turning a 38-25 halftime lead into, well, a tie midway through the second half, the Penguins smacked down Green Bay en route to the program's biggest margin of victory in the Horizon League, 77-47.
OK, the Phoenix are winless on the road this season, but it goes a long way to show the mettle of this team.
"It told our guys that the maturation of this team has got to be to put the hammer down when you get your chance," YSU coach Jerry Slocum said. "That's a part of growth for these guys to smell that and finish it, rather than playing around with it.
"We've been in this position in this league where we've been up by 10 or 12 or 14. Then, we come in here and talk, 'How did you lose the lead or whatever.' These guys seize the moment. And when you seize that moment, it's at the defensive end. You don't give easy baskets."
Tonight, no easy baskets for the prolific Vikings, who have won five of their last six games. The only setback being a 72-66 setback at Valparaiso.
D'Aundray Brown, an Ursuline High School graduate, leads the Vikings with 52 steals and averages almost 12 points per game. Jeremy Montgomery, who averages around 10 points a game, led CSU with 21 points in the last meeting, while Brown had 20.
YSU power forward and Warren G. Harding graduate Damian Eargle had 20 points and 10 rebounds - having his way with the CSU interior.
Heck, this is a Penguins team that has had four Horizon League Players of the Week this season. Don't pay attention to the point spread, which has Cleveland State favored by four. YSU is 7-1 at home this season and its only loss was against Robert Morris - a team which made the NCAA Tournament in 2009 and '10.
"I'm not going to lie to you, our guys have worked extremely hard," Slocum said. "I'm proud of the position they put themselves in. Now you have a big home game coming up on Saturday against a very special team. That is going to be a war."
Slocum was emphatic at the beginning of the season his team would finish in the top third of the Horizon League. Tonight, YSU can go a long way to proving that statement.