Greensboro, N.C. - Greensboro Coliseum
"Tyler Hansbrough is the best player in college right now. He won the award last year. He is basically the best power forward right now in college. I know he's playing hard every game. He's got a lot of experience. He plays at the best college in the nation. It's going to be a hard game against him. I just have to compete against him." – Radford center Art Parakhouski
"It's every kids dream to go to UNC. We're happy to be playing them, but when we play them all that goes out the window. We're approaching this game just like any other game we play this season. We know it's going to be a battle, but we don't want our season to end just like they don't want theirs to end." – Radford guard Kenny Thomas
"They're playing against someone who is indefeatable in Tyler Hansbrough. He just goes and goes and goes and goes. So they've never played against anybody like that… I think that they'll be able to play to where they'll gain the respect of the Carolina front court guys. I really believe that. I think that Joey and Art can play on most teams in the country. I think that the Carolina guys will respect them after they go head to head with them." – Radford head coach Brad Greenberg on how his bigs matchup with UNC
Season to Date: Radford enters Thursday afternoon's contest with a 21-11 (15-3 Big South) record. After winning their first two games of the season, the Highlanders dropped nine of their next 11 outings. But Big South Coach of the Year Brad Greenberg – older brother to Virginia Tech head coach Seth Greenberg – orchestrated one of the top turnarounds in college basketball, leading his team to 17 wins over their last 19 games. Radford clinched its second-ever NCAA Tournament appearance by knocking off No. 2 seed VMI, 108-94, in the Big South Tournament championship game.
The Beast from Belarus: Art Parakhouski has only been playing basketball for five years – and speaking English for a little over two – but his play on the court puts those two facts on the back burner rather quickly. The Minsk, Belarus native stands 6-foot-11 and weighs in at 260 pounds, and that size helped the junior center earn Big South Player of the Year honors after scoring 16.3 points and grabbing 11.3 rebounds per game. Parakhouski closed out his junior season in high fashion, scoring 39 points on 15-of-19 shooting while setting a single-season school record with 19 rebounds against Liberty on Feb. 28.
Savvy Veterans: A requirement for a small school to make a dent in the NCAA Tournament is have a solid stable of upperclassmen leading the way, and the Highlanders fit that description with four juniors and a senior filling out the starting lineup. Junior point guard Amir Johnson (9.6 ppg) led the Big South with 5.2 assists per outing, while senior Kenny Thomas (14.8 ppg, 4.8 rpg) and junior Joey Lynch-Flohr (13.7 ppg, 5.8 rpg) provide extra scoring punches for Greenberg's program.
Important Stat: Radford is 6-9 when its opponents score 70 points or more this season.
Peaking at the Right Time: In the 2009 Big South Tournament, the Highlanders averaged 94.7 points, while shooting 52.4 percent from the floor and 42.9 percent from behind the 3-point arc. Defensively, they held their opponents to a 39.5 percent clip and recorded 28 blocks in three games, including 12 against UNC Asheville, which tied the school record.
Rankings: The Highlanders currently hold down the No. 22 spot in CollegeInsider.com's mid-major top-25, moving up a spot from last week.
Tar Heel Ties: UNC assistant basketball coach Steve Robinson graduated from Radford in 1981 and served as the basketball team's captain his final two seasons. He also earned a master's degree from the university, and is a member of the school's Hall of Fame.
Series History: Thursday's contest will mark the first-ever meeting between these two programs.
Projected Starters: 11 Amir Johnson (5-9, 193, Jr.) – 9.6 ppg, 5.3 apg 24 Kenny Thomas (6-3, 182, Sr.) – 14.8 ppg, 4.8 rpg 30 Phillip Martin (6-6, 190, Jr.) – 4.3 ppg, 3.0 rpg 40 Joey Lynch-Flohr (6-8, 221, Jr.) - 13.7 ppg, 5.8 rpg 45 Artsiom Parakhouski (6-11, 260, Jr.) – 16.3 ppg, 11.2 rpg Key Reserves: 1 Chris McEachin (6-5, 181, So.) – 8.8 ppg, 2.8 rpg 33 Eric Hall (6-8, 203, Sr.) – 4.6 ppg, 4.1 rpg
Background Location: Radford, Va. Enrollment: 9,122 Conference: Big South Nickname: Highlanders Colors: Red & White Head Coach: Brad Greenberg Record at RU: 31-31