In an almost symbolic twist, seven points kept Michigan State coach Tom Izzo from reaching his seventh Final Four.
Ultimately, Sunday's 60-54 loss to UConn, the No. 7-seeded team in the East, was the undoing for the No. 4-seeded Spartans, who were the popular pick to conquer March Madness.
Major TV analysts, radio hosts and even the Leader of the Free World assumed that Izzo was bound for destiny at Cowboys Stadium. Instead, it will be Florida, Wisconsin, Kentucky and Kevin Ollie's Huskies.
By virtue of pedigree and history, anything less than a Final Four, technically speaking, is grounds for disappointment. Calling this season a failure would be harsh. However, it certainly wasn't a success—not by Izzo's golden standard.
The 19-year coach had a loaded and finally healthy team that appeared to be on the brink of pushing it to the next gear and "doing something special," as Izzo stated during a postgame interview with CBS.
There's a fine line between being "like" and actually "being" a classic team. The 2013-14 Spartans finished on the wrong side of that line.
This slideshow will assign marks for the shortened season.