Troy, MTSU set to battle for first

Published 10:52 pm Wednesday, February 17, 2010

With just four games left in the 2009-10 season, the Troy Trojans have a chance to move into a tie for first place in the Sun Belt’s Eastern Division tonight when they take on Middle Tennessee.

MTSU currently leads the division with a 10-4 conference record, while Troy is tied for second with a 9-5 SBC record.

“Obviously, this is a very important game for both teams,” said Troy head coach Don Maestri. “Middle Tennessee is going to come in here, and I think you’ll see them play harder than any other team that has come into Trojan Arena since we’ve been part of the Sun Belt.”

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A Trojan win would tie the two teams at 10-5, but Troy would hold the tiebreaker by virtue of having beaten MTSU already once this year.

Troy’s previous win over MTSU came back on Feb. 4, when the Trojans defeated the Blue Raiders 70-67.

Despite Troy’s previous win, Maestri said he does not expect many changes in MTSU’s strategy, if any at all.

“I don’t really expect a lot of changes from them,” Maestri said. “There’s no doubt in my mind they’ll make a concerted effort to not let us get off to a fast start. But, Coach Kermit Davis is one of the finest coaches in this league, if not the country in my opinion. I really think you’ll see him focus more on execution than changing strategy.”

While the game does carry heavy postseason implications, Maestri said the focus this week has not been on what a win would mean, but rather the challenge facing the team.

“I haven’t really talked to the team too much about the implications of this game,” Maestri said. “I’ve just told them that Middle is coming in here with their guns loaded and fire in their eyes, and we’ve got to be ready to meet that challenge.”