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The fear factor, however, is long gone.

Yes, they’re concerned about Walker. Saying they’re obsessed would be stretching it.

“You really just can’t focus the defense all on him,” said guard Shawn Vanzant. “They’ve got excellent other guards on the team who can hurt you. (Jeremy) Lamb’s a very good player. It’s going to be a team collective to guard their three guards.”

Meaning everybody has to take a look at the scouting report on each player, no exceptions. Forward Matt Howard won’t be anywhere near Walker when the Bulldogs set up their halfcourt defense. Yet he has to know where to go when Walker inevitably comes his way.

“You have to have a team awareness on him; it’s not going to be one guy,” Howard said. “I know we’ll probably be rotating guys onto him.”

Nored and Vanzant certainly will get a shot, and the assistants have prepared extra tape so the players can spend all Sunday night studying where Walker likes to go when he gets the ball on the left baseline if they want.

Anglin likens the scouting reports to SparkNotes, the popular series of study aides that condenses classic books into easily digestible morsels.

The Bulldogs, however, have been better than most at taking away an opponent’s strengths. They harassed Virginia Commonwealth’s sharp-shooting Joey Rodriguez into a 1-of-8 performance on Saturday and limited SEC Player of the Year Chandler Parsons to just five points in the regional final a week ago.

Yet, Rodriguez and Parsons aren’t on Walker’s level. Nobody in college basketball is. He’ll step into the spotlight one more time on Monday, a place opponents have found mighty uncomfortable the last month.

Butler watched in person as Walker shred through the first weekend of the tournament in Washington D.C., and paid close attention on Saturday when he guided the Huskies within a game of their third national title.

The Bulldogs are the last obstacle standing between Walker and a place in history reserved for the likes of Danny Manning, who carried Kansas to a national title 23 years ago.

Their admiration for Walker is palpable. So is their determination to succeed where so many other teams have failed.

“I’ve been cheering for him making game-winning shots all year so it’s exciting to have this opportunity,” Nored said. “It’s going to be a tall task and not just him, the other two guards. It’s going to be a tall task for us.”


AP National Writer Nancy Armour contributed to this report.