Is this the best UConn men’s basketball has ever been?

The chants echoed throughout social media and the University of Illinois campus on Thursday night, and you could just feel the coming regret.

“We want UConn!”

“We want UConn!”

Illinois students couldn’t help themselves after the Fighting Illini closed out Iowa State in the Sweet 16 on Thursday, and believing the top-ranked Huskies were perhaps overrated, fans of the Big Ten tournament champs stuck out their chests.

They chanted with bravado, some irrational confidence, and probably a little bit tongue-in-cheek, with the tacit acknowledgement that no one really wants to be in UConn’s path on the road to the Final Four, lest they end up looking like a squirrel with bad reflexes.

But despite all the program has accomplished over the last 25 years, it is a little bit new to hear fans of opposing teams putting the UConn men on this kind of pedestal.

For years, “We want Bama!” was the chant in college football, and it would be shouted shamelessly by students whether their team had just won the SEC East, or the Sun Belt. It’s a bit, like Larry David heckling your coach during a 30-point blowout.

Well, Illinois got UConn on Saturday night, but they definitely didn’t get what they wanted.

“Well, I think that I didn’t expect that,” head coach Brad Underwood said after his team’s 77-52 defeat. “But tons of credit to UConn. … Today wasn’t what any of us expected.”

The Illini were thrashed after a head-spinning 30-0 second-half run that shouldn’t even be possible in the Elite Eight. It was something you’d see from Bob Hurley’s teams at St. Anthony’s or Geno Auriemma’s during the height of the Huskies’ dynasty. Now, UConn’s got Bama in the Final Four.

No real college hoops fan will argue anymore that UConn men’s basketball isn’t a blueblood program– the Huskies put the final nail in the coffin of that debate last season with their fifth national title. But as great as the UConn men have been in the past, things have never been quite like this.

Sure, UConn titles have appeared inevitable before– the Huskies were the best team in the nation all season long in 2003-04, starting the year with Emeka Okafor and Diana Taurasi on the cover of Sports Illustrated and whipping everyone in the tournament, finishing 33-6 and really only losing games when it looked like they were bored.

Their miraculous Kemba Walker-led run seemed destined to end in a title in 2011, and history repeated itself again with Shabazz Napier and Co. in 2014, in even more improbable fashion. Everyone could see what was coming last year by the time UConn reached the Sweet 16, and when they thumped Gonzaga, 82-54, you could have started camping out in your spot along the parade route in Hartford.

But this version of UConn is an unstoppable juggernaut that’s steamrolling the rest of the field the way few teams in college basketball history ever have, en route to potentially checking off one of the rare boxes it hasn’t yet as a program– back-to-back titles. Today, the Huskies are flying as high as they’ve ever been on the men’s side– their dominance, name brand, and national reputation as sterling and synonymous with excellence as it has ever been.

In terms of the most dominant teams in recent men’s college hoops history, 2012 Kentucky and 2009 North Carolina can maybe compare to this UConn team. The 2015 version of the Wildcats were just as dominant as these Huskies– they were like an NBA team with Devin Booker and Karl-Anthony Towns– but they were upended in the Final Four by Wisconsin.

You might have to go back to 1992 Duke to find a squad that felt quite as inevitable as these current Huskies have, for more than a calendar year.

As UConn’s Dan Hurley chases back-to-back titles, his brother Bobby watches on in amazement

“This team right here is just amazing. We’re enjoying it. I hope everybody in the world is enjoying it as much as we are,” Hassan Diarra said. “This team has one week left together. We’re going to go down as one of the best teams to ever do it in college basketball.”

If UConn only recently cemented itself as a bona-fide blue blood, it’s now starting to make the argument that its blood is a more magnificent hue than Duke or Carolina blue.

If the Huskies finish the deal and win two more games, they’ll become the eighth program in men’s college hoops history to have won back-to-back titles, joining Oklahoma State (1945-46), Kentucky (1948-49), San Francisco (1955-56), Cincinnati (1961-62), UCLA (1964-65, ’67-73), Duke (1991-92) and Florida (2006-07).

Note that Kansas, Indiana and North Carolina aren’t on that list.

Another title would give UConn more men’s basketball championships than Duke. It would draw the Huskies even with the Tar Heels. And all of this has been done in the last quarter-century.

10 crazy facts that define UConn’s run through the NCAA Tournament

Jim Calhoun deserves all the credit for the utterly remarkable job he did in building this program– as many have said, he may be the best program-builder and most underrated coach in college basketball history.

But as it chases title No. 6, there’s little doubt– UConn has never been flying like this.