For both of the Columbus State basketball teams, today's home games against North Georgia are important, but for different reasons.
The Lady Cougars, who are riding a five-game win streak, have played themselves into contention for the Peach Belt Conference regular-season championship.
Meanwhile, the Cougars' roller-coaster season has them fighting just to make the PBC tournament, which will be held at the Lumpkin Center next month.
The Cougars are desperately seeking to not repeat last season, when they failed to make a tournament they were hosting.
Today's games begin at 1:30 p.m. for the women, with the men to follow at 3:30 p.m.
The Lady Cougars are 14-4 overall and 9-3 in the PBC.
They are tied with North Georgia and Clayton State for second place in the West Division. All are a half-game behind Young Harris, which is 9-2 after beating North Georgia on Wednesday.
Young Harris travels to GRU-Augusta today, while Clayton State travels to Montevallo.
This will be the next-to-last home game for CSU. The Lady Cougars will play at GRU-Augusta on Feb. 13, at Georgia College on Feb. 15, at Montevallo on Feb. 19, at North Georgia on Feb. 26 and at Clayton State on March 1.
The road game at North Georgia is a make-up game from a contest that was postponed due to wintry weather last week.
The remaining home game is Feb. 22 against Young Harris.
The Lady Cougars are 8-1 at home and 5-2 in road games this season.
"I think North Georgia is going to come in here focused," CSU coach Jonathan Norton told the Ledger-Enquirer after Thursday's game. " North Georgia is a fundamentally sound team. We're going to have chances to make shots against them, but our defensive intensity is going to have to be there if we want to win.
"I think our missed shots affected our defensive effort tonight, and we can't let that happen (Saturday)."
Meanwhile, the Cougars are tied with North Georgia for fourth in the West at 5-7.
Only the top four teams in each division will advance to the PBC tournament.
CSU and North Georgia are 1½ games behind Young Harris (6-5) for third, but only a game ahead of Clayton State (4-8) and two ahead of Georgia College (3-9).
And while the road has not proven to be a problem for the Lady Cougars, the Cougars can't make the same claim. The CSU men are only 1-5 in away games.
"We have to stay more focused and execute on both ends of the floor," Robert Moore said after Thursday's loss.
"We have to get stops on the defensive end as well. If you don't get stops on the defensive end, you're not going to win many games in this conference."