The talk is of just another game, normal preparation and sticking to the routine and what works.
For Florida Gulf Coast, its about pushing the ball and getting to the rim, keeping alive Dunk City talk.
For Mercer, its about sharing the ball and team defense, keeping quiet Dunk City talk.
To think that blood pressure hasnt been a few points higher all week is to know little about the teams and the stakes as the A-Suns first- and second-place teams battle in front of an overflow crowd and ESPNU audience when Mercer visits Florida Gulf Coast on Friday night.
But its not just another normal game with routine preparation.
Its going to be a packed house, Florida Gulf Coast point guard Brett Comer said. And hopefully the best crowd weve ever had.
The game has been a sellout, save for student ticket distribution, for a few weeks, and Alico Arena fits 4,633, including standing-room only.
The Eagles fan base has exploded in paying customers and noise since last springs NCAA tournament run, increasing attendance about 45 percent, to more than 4,200 a game. Playing a rival on national TV with some serious conference tournament stakes at play should lead to a raucous evening.
We love the way we play at home ... Florida Gulf Coast forward Chase Fieler said. Weve played much better at home.
Both teams figure to come up with some tweaks based on how things went in Mercers 68-55 win last month in Macon and in the games afterward.
Theyre both 5-1 since, Mercer -- up to No. 9 in the latest CollegeInsider.com mid-major poll -- fell by 19 at USC Upstate on Feb. 2 and Florida Gulf Coast lost by eight at East Tennessee State 11 days later.
That gave Mercer a one-game lead.
Granted, the rematch was going to be of mammoth proportions regardless, but Florida Gulf Coasts loss put the Eagles under greater pressure.
The A-Sun changed the tournament format last spring, with the higher seeds hosting each game. The top seed gets home-court advantage.
And no two teams in the conference are tougher at home than Mercer and Florida Gulf Coast, who are 14-0 and 11-1, respectively, this season.
USC Upstate, ETSU and North Florida are next in line in the standings and are part of the tiebreaker scenario. ETSU finishing third would give Mercer the top seed, but USC Upstate or North Florida in third puts Florida Gulf Coast on top. Ties would further complicate the tiebreaker.
The No. 1 team stays at home in the tournament, a huge edge -- even as close as the Bears and Eagles are -- toward the coveted NCAA tournament bid.
Florida Gulf Coast is still riding the Dunk City wave, although the Eagles were the No. 2 team on the court on Jan. 23 in Macon in that category, getting outslammed by one in the loss to Mercer.
For the season, the Eagles have eked ahead of the Bears 82-76 in the dunk count.
The Bears won the first meeting with a superb defensive effort that held the Eagles to a 1-for-17 night on 3-pointers and 35 percent shooting overall.
Weve got to give them credit, Florida Gulf Coast head coach Joe Dooley said. We shot 35 percent and 5.9 percent from the 3-point line, and I dont know how many games that gets you.
Comer didnt have a normal game, with 10 points on 5-of-13 shooting with four assists.
That was definitely one of our best defensive efforts of the year, said Mercers Langston Hall, a conference player of the year contender. Theyre probably going to try and drive us more often, just to (attack) the possession for the quick guards. They did a good job at the end of the game last time when we started pushing the lead up to 15, 20.
They just started driving us. At will, really.
Mercer center Daniel Coursey didnt have a normal game, either, in the other direction. He had 14 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks.
I got a few good rebounds and a few good blocks, Coursey said. They have some pretty tall players, and I was able to help Jake (Gollon) out a lot, especially on Fieler.
And we just prepared really hard for them. We scouted them really well, we knew all their plays.
Comer knows avoiding that rerun is a huge key.
We have to go at him, he said. Someone who wants to jump every time, you can get them in foul trouble. Eric (McKnight) and Chase will bang at him and well go at him.
Depth is a regular Mercer advantage, as it was in the first game, with the Bears winning the bench battle 20-7. Monty Brown, Ike Nwamu and Darious Moten teamed for 17 Mercer points.
After the first few minutes, the basketball version of a chess match is likely to break out as the teams determine to maintain the game plan or start injecting some tweaks. Mercers defense took a lot of the juice out of the first game, the Bears leading by double figures for nearly 15 of the final 20 minutes.
There will be a high hunger quotient for the home folks.
Theyre a big energy team and they feed off energy plays, Mercer senior Bud Thomas said. We didnt really allow them too many energy plays to get going. Obviously, being on the road, the crowds not behind them.
Down at their place, one dunk, the crowds gonna go through the roof.