BracketBusters and suspensions have ruled the week in Big South Conference men's basketball.
Nine of the conference's 10 teams will take part in the BracketBusters games.
Winthrop (12-14) will entertain Ohio (13-13) at 7 p.m. today. The game should be a physical challenge for the Eagles facing a Bobcats' team from the Mid-American Conference known for its no blood, no foul mentality.
If the game is anything like the last time the Eagles faced a MAC team in the BracketBusters, it should be interesting. Winthrop beat Northern Illinois, 98-97, in double overtime in the 2006 BracketBuster game in Rock Hill.
A couple of suspensions have put the league on its ear from the bottom of the standings to the top.
On Monday, Radford coach Brad Greenberg was handed a four-game suspension for "NCAA violations tied to impermissible team travel and associated extra benefits for an ineligible player," a statement from Radford's athletic department read.
Greenberg began his suspension on Tuesday. Assistant coach Rick Hall served as acting head coach for the Highlanders with the help of assistants Rick Callahan and Cedric Smith. Radford lost in overtime at home to Presbyterian, 52-49. The Highlanders are now eliminated from the postseason meaning Greenberg has coached his final game of the 2010-11 season.
The whirlwind week has turned next week's conclusion to the regular season into a wide open race for tournament positioning.
Winthrop will finish with a seed ranging from No. 3 to No. 6. If everything fell in place (of fell apart) the Eagles could slip to No. 7.
Five teams -- Winthrop, Asheville, VMI, Charleston Southern and High Point -- are vying for the No. 3 and 4 spots that come with the added bonus of a home game to start the Big South tournament on March 1.
To Winthrop coach Randy Peele, regardless of seeding, he made his expectations clear to his team before Thursday's practice.
"We are going to win this, and we are going to win it my way," he said with the team huddled around him.
Peele talked about scoring just 13 points in the first half at High Point in a 70-69 double overtime loss on Tuesday. Panthers' guard Nick Barbour had 14 at the break.
Peele then referred to the way the Eagles limited High Point to just three field goals (3-for-22) in the second half.
"In the second half I had your attention," Peele said.
With his point made, Peele led his team through its paces getting ready for a tough test against Ohio. The Bobcats pulled off the biggest upset in last year's NCAA tournament by knocking off Georgetown in the first round.
Ohio lost a memorable four overtime game at St. Bonaventure on Dec. 18. Sophomore guard D.J. Cooper scored 43 points on 17-for-41 shooting in the 112-107 loss. He added 13 assists, eight steals and eight rebounds.
Cooper and Ivo Baltic each scored 24 points to help top Buffalo, 76-69, on Tuesday. Wings Tommy Freeman (47.6) and Nick Kellogg (44.4) rank 1-2 in the MAC in 3-point shooting percentage. Senior forward DeVaughn Washington has scored in double figures in eight straight games.
On Thursday, Coastal Carolina junior guard Desmond Holloway was suspended indefinitely for eligibility issues. The transfer from Wabash Valley College in Indiana was leading the Big South in scoring and is a leading candidate for the league's Player of the Year honors.
The Holloway suspension comes on the heels of Coastal's first conference loss, a 59-57 setback at Kimbel Arena, to ninth-place Gardner-Webb. During that game, starting point guard Kierre Greenwood tore a ligament in his left knee and will be out the rest of the season.
Holloway is averaging 18.5 points and 6.9 rebounds a game, while Greenwood leads the team with four assists a game.
The team has already dealt with starting forward Mike Holmes being kicked off the team and losing reserve guard Willie Kirkland to academic issues. Coastal Carolina is left with just seven scholarship players and a walk-on.
The kicker in the whole scenario is that Coastal (25-3, 15-1 Big South), already locked in to the No. 1 seed for the upcoming Big South tournament, will likely face Gardner-Webb in the first round. The Chants narrowly defeated G-W in the first meeting in Boiling Springs, N.C., 58-55.