Connecticut had hardly reached the locker room after Monday’s game before one of the players yelled, “UConn 2000!”
A run at another title will be particularly tough if Richard Hamilton, a junior, leaves for the NBA as most expect.
The Huskies will lose senior defensive stalwart Ricky Moore and may also lose big-play guard Khalid El-Amin, a sophomore, to the NBA.
The big question at Duke is how the Blue Devils’ loss will affect the decisions of sophomores Elton Brand and William Avery about turning pro.
If neither leaves, the Blue Devils will be a prohibitive favorite from Day 1 again.
“Right now, we have a chance to stay up here,” Coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “But that depends on what kids do. How you recruit. Things are not as stable anywhere anymore.”