But his presence and impact are evident off the floor, too. That Kentucky locker room is filled with players who have been stars for years. They're all confident. It takes a special player to stand out in a group like that, but Randle does. His teammates respect him because of his passion and confidence. They know that Randle will get a bucket when they need one. They know he'll do what it takes to win. After Kentucky lost to Florida in Lexington, Randle was disgusted. And he accepted blame, even though he finished with 13 points and 13 rebounds. He doesn't care about the expectations and hype. He just wants to win. And that attitude has helped the Wildcats kick in the door and have their way in the tourney thus far.
Shabazz Napier (UConn): Well, every NCAA tourney needs a superstar, a captivating character. Enter Shabazz Napier. The Connecticut point guard is the David Blaine of college basketball. You don't know what he's going to pull out of that hat. But you know it's going to be something special. So don't blink. His significance? His sheer brilliance in his 6-1, 180-pound frame. He scored 17 of his 25 points in the second half of UConn's Elite Eight victory over Michigan State. He hit big free throws down the stretch. "His will to win -- you could just see it," Michigan State's Gary Harris told reporters after the game. "He wasn't going to let his team lose." Napier has had the most impact in the tournament to date. The Huskies finished three games behind American Athletic Conference co-champions Louisville and Cincinnati. They've had their struggles. But Napier has put together an epic run. His tourney numbers are ridiculous, averaging 23.3 points, 6.0 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 2.0 steals per game in the Big Dance.
This tournament hasn't made a lot of sense. It rarely does. But Connecticut's rise to this stage a year after it was ineligible due to academic issues isn't some inexplicable fairy tale. Coach Kevin Ollie has the best player in the Final Four, the best player since the Big Dance began two weeks ago who has carried the Huskies to surprising heights. This UConn team already has a win over Florida, although the Gators weren't at 100 percent then. But the Huskies won that game because Napier was clutch in the final seconds. He's even better now. Anything seems possible for UConn with the senior guard on the floor.