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KEEPING IT CLEAN: Kentucky swingman DeAndre Liggins will be charged with doing something few have been able to accomplish this season: stop Connecticut’s Kemba Walker.

Liggins has been saying for weeks he’d like another chance to slow down Walker, who torched Kentucky for 29 points when the two teams met in November, one of the few times this season Liggins failed to shut down an opponent.

He’s become one of the country’s best defenders, using his massive wingspan to swallow smaller players. The only thing that moves faster than his feet, however, may be his mouth.

Liggins is a notorious trash talker, a ploy he’s used for years to get in opponent’s heads. He went back and forth with North Carolina’s Harrison Barnes all game long in Kentucky’s win over the Tar Heels in the East regional final a week ago.

Yet Liggins says he’s going to keep to himself on Saturday night.

“I have the utmost respect for Kemba Walker,” Liggins said.

Besides, it might not help. Walker is used to defenders jawing at him. Not that he notices so much anymore.

“I can hear them, but that doesn’t mean I’m listening to them,” Walker said, “I’m just playing.”


FEARLESS NAPIER: Connecticut guard Shabazz Napier doesn’t play with the timidity of a freshman. Napier, at times, plays more like a senior, afraid of almost nothing, including his head coach.

“You’d have to line up one hell of a dragon with fire coming out before he would even flinch,” UConn coach Jim Calhoun said. “My point is that he’s fearless. He’s got a heck of a future because he’s got that internal fortitude that a kid needs.”


ROZZELL FOR MAYOR: Shaka Smart refers to senior guard Brandon Rozzell as the mayor.

‘Everybody knows him, or knows of him and everybody likes him,” Smart explained.

That’s all fine with Rozzell, one of two Richmond natives on the VCU roster.

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