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Golden opportunity

Tonight, each and every person who can possibly attend the Troy vs. Western Kentucky basketball game should do so — or else Bernard Toombs will hit you in the face with his braids.

I’m just kidding, of course.

But seriously, the importance of tonight’s game cannot be overstated.

Simply put, this is the most important game Troy has played all season.

Troy comes in having lost its last two conference games, yet has a chance to make a huge statement.

This was a team that we all expected great things out of this season. Unfortunately, things have not gone quite the way the Trojans would have hoped. Sure, there have been highs, like the win over Auburn and 3-0 start to conference play.

But, there have also been lows, such as heartbreaking losses to North Texas and South Alabama.

And yet, here comes Western Kentucky at 4-2 in league play, just a half game ahead of Troy in the conference standings. Clearly, the Trojans wouldn’t be completely out of the race should they fall tonight.

But, WKU is probably the most talented team in the league, and it will be tough to chase them down from behind with a rematch in Kentucky still looming.

If Troy wants to take home a first-round bye in the conference tournament for the second straight season and make a run at a regular season title, it must get on a roll like it did about this time last year.

If a roll is coming, tonight would be the perfect time to start.

Nick Duke is a sports writer for The Messenger, and he can be reached at nick.duke@Troymessenger.com or on Twitter at Messenger_nick.