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Final Four notebook: Five observations from Saturday

by | Special to CBSSports.com
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1. SHABAZZ'S SIZZLE

He might not start and he might not be the first player on an opponent's scouting report, but Shabazz Napier drastically changes the type of team UConn is when he's on the floor. A ferocious defender with solid point guard skills, Napier's presence is one of many reasons why Kemba Walker has had the type of season he has had for the Huskies.

2. THE COMPANY YOU KEEP

Jim Calhoun doesn't need any more motivation to win his third national championship, but should UConn beat Butler on Monday night, Calhoun will join Bob Knight, John Wooden, Mike Krzyzewski and Adolph Rupp as the only coaches to win three or more titles.

3. KNIGHTMARE

Brandon Knight has been at the core of Kentucky's success the past few weeks but he had a night he would like to forget. The talented freshman shot 6 for 23 from the floor, including 3 for 11 from 3-point range. And as a team, Kentucky missed eight of its 12 free throws.

4. CHAIRMEN OF THE BOARDS

You really can't appreciate how well Butler rebounds until you see the Bulldogs in person. They outboarded VCU 48-32, and even though the Rams aren't the best rebounding team in the country, Brad Stevens' group is relentless on the backboards. It's going to be hard for any team to simulate how physical this unit is until it plays Butler.

5. CALL IN THE RESERVES

Ronald Nored told me Friday that one of the major reasons Butler was better suited to win a national championship this season was because of their overall team depth. That was on full display against VCU. Nored, Khyle Marshall and Zach Hahn all made major contributions off the bench and did so in many different ways. Nored's physical defense stifled Rams point guard Joey Rodriguez while Hahn had several key baskets in the second half and Marshall continued to be a menace on the glass.

THEY SAID IT:

 "It's like going off a cliff." -- Kentucky coach John Calipari on the end of the college basketball season.

 "I won't be able to fathom what we've accomplished until we're cutting down the nets." -- UConn guard Kemba Walker on the Huskies' magical run.

 "It's not the drive or the jump. It's everything else he does that makes him the best player in America." -- Jim Calhoun on Kemba Walker.

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