ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- How fitting.

Way back in November the seers of college basketball put Duke and Connecticut atop the preseason poll. On Monday night, those teams will decide the national championship.No other schools held the No. 1 ranking this season, and it's been 34 years since two teams in that position played for the title, with UCLA beating Michigan.

"To have the two of us playing for the national championship is terrific," Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski said.

Duke (37-1) has won 32 straight games, and another win would give it the NCAA record for victories in a season and its third championship of the '90s.

Krzyzewski has taken the Blue Devils to the Final Four eight times since 1986, and on Monday he could become just the fourth coach with three or more championships.

His 48-12 tournament record also makes him the winningest active coach. Former North Carolina coach Dean Smith has the only better total, 65.

Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun, making his first Final Four appearance, is well aware of Krzyzewski's impressive credentials.

"When you talk about Final Fours, you're talking about Mike Krzyzewski," said Calhoun, who's in his 27th season as a head coach, the last 13 with the Huskies. "He's the coach for our generation."

Third-ranked Connecticut (33-2) hasn't exactly been a slouch in the '90s, either.

The Huskies have made seven regional semifinal appearances -- tied for the most in that span -- and three in regional championship games. The first of those was a 79-78 loss to Duke when Christian Laettner hit a jumper on an inbounds play at the buzzer in 1990.

"Sometimes, for us, excellence hasn't been enough in the '90s," Calhoun said.

Ever since the brackets were announced two weeks ago, Connecticut has been looking ahead to the game most people saw as the tournament's best all along.

"We've played this game in our minds and now we get to a chance to do it," Huskies center Jake Voskuhl said.

Duke comes in off a 68-62 victory over second-ranked Michigan State in the semifinals, a tough game in which the Blue Devils scored their fewest points this season.

"We came out of that game in good health and it certainly was a very physical game," said Krzyzewski, who decided not to have the team practice Sunday. Instead, the team just went over some scouting material.

Win or lose, the Blue Devils will end their season on the same floor they did last year.

They lost to eventual national champion Kentucky in the South Regional final at Tropicana Field after leading by 17 points in the second half.

Duke's Trajan Langdon said that loss has provided some motivation, but he added that not a whole is needed.

"In UConn being the only other team ranked number one in the nation and a lot of people saying that's the best team, it's a great way to finish the year," he said.

Duke, which leads the nation in scoring at 92.3 per game, is also No. 1 in margin of victory (25.4), just off its NCAA tournament average of 25.2

"Duke's not a difficult team to prepare for," Calhoun said, "they're a difficult team to play."

The fact that Duke is the heavy favorite doesn't seem to matter to Connecticut, which beat Ohio State 64-58 in the semifinals.

"At 33-2, we've been a pretty good team ourselves. We have been brilliant at times. We have been pragmatic at times. We have survived at times," Calhoun said.

"Very few teams have been afforded the opportunity to have the kind of season Duke has had," he said. "Be that as it may, the game comes down to 40 minutes Monday night, not what some folks think it should be, would be, could be. It comes down to two teams that won 70 basketball games this season."