(NYTIMES) — All week, Shabazz Napier was asked about the Connecticut team of 2011, the team that rumbled through the N.C.A.A. tournament. He was a freshman on that team, as old as the five players in Kentucky blue joining him Monday for the opening tip-off in the national championship.

He could not compare them; the teams, he said, were just different, but Napier at least had a frame of reference.

Connecticut was the anti-Kentucky, with two seniors and two juniors in its starting lineup, players who affirmed their loyalty through conference realignment and sanctions and postseason bans. They stayed, and they were rewarded on Monday night, with another title, improbable as that would have seemed three weeks ago.

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