One of them will inevitably smile after a wisecrack whispered by the other.
Neither will reveal what they say, one of many secrets between Louisville's junior stars, who've bonded like brothers while rebuilding the Cardinals into a national championship contender.
``We don't really have to talk with our mouths, we can talk to each other with our eyes,'' Garcia said. ``He'll look at me, I'll look at him and we'll feel the connection.''
Family tragedies brought them together. Basketball made them inseparable.
The rewarding end to two difficult personal journeys comes this weekend, when Louisville (33-4) plays Illinois (36-1) at the Final Four in St. Louis on Saturday.
``We've definitely pushed each other to this point,'' said Dean, who's hit a school-record 120 3-pointers this season.
There was little hope of a Final Four while the two were growing up.
Dean was raised in rugged Red Bank, N.J., surrounded by a culture of drugs and crime. That environment comprised only part of his challenge. His mother died when he was 6. By the time he was 9, Dean had also lost two grandparents and an uncle. He eventually moved to Neptune, N.J., where he was raised by his aunt.
Garcia grew up in the Dominican Republic, where money was just as scarce. His mother, Miguelina Garcia Soto, eventually moved Francisco and his brother, Hector Lopez, to New York City in search of a better opportunity, and so the boys could learn English. The family moved into an apartment in a crime-riddled section of the Bronx.
``That's been our lives, our struggles,'' Dean said.
Dean and Garcia first met at a camp in the summer of 2001, shortly after both had committed to play for the Cardinals. The bond began forming immediately.
Taquan Dean, and junior teammate
Francisco Garcia have led Louisville back
to the Final Four for the first time since 1986.
They also shared a strong work ethic and passion for the game. From the start of their college careers, the roommates have awakened before sunrise, headed to the Louisville practice facility and spent an hour or two shooting in an empty gym.
Dean draws his motivation from the spirit of his mother, whose name is tattooed on his left shoulder, alongside the dates of her birth and death.
``Every step I take, she's with me,'' he said after last week's 93-85 win over West Virginia.
Garcia was driven to get to the NBA, so he could rescue his mother and brother from their dangerous neighborhood. He couldn't make it in time.
In December 2003, Garcia's brother was shot and killed in the Bronx. One of the first things Dean told Garcia was that he may have lost a sibling, but he'd gained another one.
``When that happened, he was like a big brother to me,'' Garcia said. ``I really look up to him because of that.''
``I understood the pain,'' Dean said. ``But I also knew I had to help him keep moving on.''
Garcia returned the favor last year, as Dean spent the summer rehabbing after double hernia surgery. Dean questioned whether he'd ever play again, but Garcia was always there to pick him up.
``We laugh all day,'' Dean said, ``just to take our minds off any negative aspect of life.''
Both have missed practices with injuries this season and Dean endured a bout with mononucleosis in January and February.
Yet here they are in the Final Four, living up to the motto tattooed on Dean's right biceps. It reads, ``Only the Strong Survive.''
``Our backgrounds have made us tough,'' Dean said. ``Francisco and I, we carry that adversity with us. It gives us that underdog attitude.''
Louisville coach Rick Pitino has said all season that Garcia will leave a year early to enter the NBA draft. Dean will be the leader of next year's Cardinals. Both will go down as two of Pitino's all-time favorites.
``I've never seen such enormous pride in two young men in 30 years of coaching,'' Pitino said. ``They're unbelievable kids, unbelievable players, model citizens. Like (Jamal) Mashburn was a key catalyst in turning around the Kentucky program, these two kids are major catalysts here at Louisville.''