CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Cleveland, Miss., is known as the Crossroads of Culture in the Delta.
Tonight, when Delta State University hosts the University of West Alabama, college basketball coaches from the country roads of West Virginia cross paths there.
It isn't the spectacle that is the Super Bowl and it won't have the television ratings bite of the Puppy Bowl, but two Mountain State hoops coaches have a showdown of programs that are on top of the Gulf South standings.
This is no surprise. West Virginians can flat-out coach.
"It's a small world, this coaching world we're in," said Winfield native Jim Boone, who is in his second season at Delta State. "It's amazing how many ties there are."
Delta State is 17-2 overall, in first place at 10-1 in league play and ranked No. 15 nationally. The Statesmen lost in its second game of the season to Florida Southern, the nation's No. 2 ranked Division II program. Since then, Delta State has won 16 of 17.
The only Gulf South team to defeat Delta State has been West Alabama, which is coached by Morgantown native and former University of Charleston coach Mark Downey.
That game, a 71-51 win by Downey's club, was in Livingston, Ala. Downey is 2-0 all-time against Boone - the other being a 68-62 UC win over West Virginia Wesleyan two years ago - but this is the first time Boone has hosted Downey.
"I've known Mark Downey since was playing at Charleston," Boone said. "He probably wasn't as much aware of me at that time, but I knew him.
"You don't like to compete against guys you know really well and like, but you have to appreciate how hard his teams play. If you can find a way to beat them, you know you beat a really good team."
The last UWA-Delta State meeting came six days before Christmas. The Statesmen have won nine consecutive games since.
"I feel like, in this league, there aren't any unbelievable teams or any bad teams," Downey said. "For us, it depends what day you get us. Delta State has won all their close games and been able to go on the road and get the wins you need to get, which is a credit to Coach Boone.
"That's why they're No. 1."