NEW YORK -- Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo had no intent to slight Connecticut guard Ryan Boatright.

It's just that his backcourtmate's name is on everyone's mind as the Final Four approaches.

''I think that we go from a team that was so physical and big with huge guards, to a team that has maybe the quickest guard tandem in the country in Shabazz -- and Boatright,'' Izzo said Saturday, the day before the fourth-seeded Spartans meet seventh-seeded Connecticut in the East Regional finals of the NCAA tournament.

Galleries from each of the games
Lopresti: UConn takes Napier's lead to national title
Kroll: Deficit too much for Kentucky against UConn
Bauernfeind: Kentucky players credit UConn guards
Collins: Toughness leads to another title for Huskies
Kroll: Calipari has run up against Connecticut before
Lopresti: UConn's run to title game reflection of its coach
Lopresti: Championship game numbers and words
Kroll: Kentucky lives by the freshmen -- again
Lopresti: UConn drawing comparisions to 2011 champs
Lopresti: Notes: UConn, UK is a match with many angles
Bauernfeind: Kentucky's inside game the difference
Collins: Ollie's leadership keeps UConn run alive
Lopresti: Napier's and Wilbekin's stories meet in Final Four
Lopresti: Notes: Times have changed since 1986
Kroll: Kaminsky grows into bigger role for Wisconsin
Kroll: AT&T Stadium is an un-really big deal
Lopresti: Even for Kentucky, it's no easy street
Lopresti: Notes: UConn's Ollie eyes title in first Final Four
Lopresti: Kentucky's Randle has private cheering section
Lopresti: Top tourney day in history of Final Four teams
Lopresti: Meet the battle-tested final foursome
2014 DI Men's Basketball Tournament Stats
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Inside Look: NCAA Courtside presented by AT&T
Shabazz Napier has been the Huskies' star this season. From his buzzer-beating jumper that handed Florida its last loss way back on Dec. 2, to his team-leading 17.8 points per game to the basketful of awards that includes the American Athletic Conference player of the year trophy.

Boatright, who is listed at 6-foot, an inch shorter than Napier, is a junior who has scored in double figures in 61 of his 91 games with the Huskies. He had 16 points in the 81-76 semifinal win against third-seeded Iowa State. Napier had 19 points.

''You got to take it,'' Boatright said of being the Huskies' co-star. ''He's a great player. You can't let that stop you. You got to go out there and perform also. It's not about the attention. The longer we win everybody gets the attention. You always find the positive in everything. That's one of the things I learned from Coach [Kevin Ollie].''

Then Boatright smiled the way somebody getting in the last word would.

''Even though he gets a lot of the attention, we all look at it like he's going to get all the traps, too, so we should be open,'' he said.

Napier, a senior, helps the situation by being one of the most humble stars in sports. When he deflects attention toward his teammates he means it. This season he has had to do it a lot.

''The way I am I don't care about those things and I don't think he would care about,'' Napier said of Boatright. ''I don't want to be known as a guy who won individual awards. I want to be known as the guy at the end of the day he and his team were triumphant. I don't flaunt things in his face just to make him upset. I'm doing the things I'm doing on the court because of Ryan. I am where I am because of my guys.''

The Spartans, who beat top-seeded Virginia 61-59 in the regional semifinals, certainly won't overlook Boatright or any of the Huskies in getting ready for Sunday's game at Madison Square Garden.

''I think our guys know that you don't get to an Elite Eight if you're a one-dimensional team,'' Izzo said. ''We're going to hit all players [in the scouting report] because we've got to stop everybody, but there's definitely going to be some emphasis on not stopping [Napier], but making him earn everything he gets, and trying to keep him where maybe his numbers might even be the same but he takes more shots to get there or wear him down a little bit by making sure he can't have free rein.''

Michigan State guard Keith Appling didn't separate the Connecticut guards the way fans have all season.

''The main thing is our guards are going to have to remain solid and not go for their head fakes or hesitation moves and stay out of foul trouble,'' he said.

Boatright and the Huskies know about Michigan State having beaten the Spartans 66-62 in last season's opener which was Ollie's first game as head coach.

''It's all about toughness. That's their identity,'' Boatright said. ''They're going to come out and try to punk you. They're big down low. They got some strong guys on the floor. The guards are big. So it's all about toughness, mentally and physically.''

Ollie feels his backcourt is ready.

''I just think those guys are playing hard. They're playing together,'' he said. ''They're connected.''