When Kentucky's offense went abruptly stagnant and opened the door for the Wisconsin rally that stunned the Wildcats in the Final Four, John Calipari lost more than his dream of coaching an undefeated national champion.
At least for now, the UK coach again missed out on claiming a unique place in the regal basketball history of UK.
All-time, five head coaches — Adolph Rupp, Joe B. Hall, Rick Pitino, Tubby Smith and Calipari — have led the Wildcats to men's basketball national championships.
Yet only Rupp, with four titles, has won more than one NCAA crown while coaching for Kentucky (Pitino claimed a second crown in 2013 but at a school other than UK).
For a coach, there is a singular spot in the lore of Wildcats men's basketball waiting for the first non-Rupp head man who can bring a second NCAA title back to Lexington.
In only six seasons at Kentucky, Calipari already is second in school history in Final Four trips — no small achievement.
The four times (2011, '12, '14 and '15) Cal has led the Cats to the final weekend trails only Rupp's six trips (1942, '48, '49, '51, '58, '66) to the Final Four.
Hall (1975, '78 and '84) and Pitino (1993, '96 and '97) each took UK to three Final Fours, and Smith led UK to one (1998).
On the flip side, Calipari currently has the lowest winning percentage in Final Four games (.500 on a 3-3 record) of any UK coach.
Smith made his one Final Four trip count, going 2-0 (1.000 percent); Rupp was 9-2 (81.8) in Final Four contests; and Hall and Pitino were both 3-2 (.600).
With four Final Four trips in the last five years, Calipari has presided over one of three concentrated stretches of exceptional NCAA Tournament advancement in UK basketball history.
From 1948 to 1951, Rupp took Kentucky to three Final Fours in a four-season span (inexplicably, UK, with a 25-5 record and the SEC championship, was not invited to the NCAA tourney in 1950).
In 1996-98, Pitino (two) and Smith tag-teamed UK to three straight Final Fours.
The difference in the previous multi-year UK Final Four streaks and the current one is Rupp claimed three NCAA championships and the Pitino-Smith tandem brought two national titles to Kentucky.
After Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist & Co. helped Calipari cut down the nets in 2012, Cal has been agonizingly close to getting that second title the past two seasons.
In 2014, he fell short in the national finals to Shabazz Napier and Connecticut. This year, Bo Ryan and the non-rent-a-players from Wisconsin broke the hearts of the previously undefeated Cats (38-1) in the semifinals.
You would have to be grading on an obscenely rigorous scale not to characterize Kentucky's past five seasons, overall, as a success. By the historical standards of the UK basketball program, the frustration in the Wildcats' fan base that the four most recent Final Fours have yielded but one championship is understandable.
In the modern era, the pressures of coaching in the UK fish bowl have seemed to impose term limits on Wildcats head men. Hall put in 13 years on the Wildcats bench, Smith 10, Pitino eight.
Given the roster churn and constant need for recruiting that has accompanied Calipari's embrace of the one-and-done dynamic, his six years as top Cat might have included the highest degree of job stress of any UK coach.
At least so far this spring, there has not seemed as much NBA chatter regarding Calipari's future as there was after the 2014 NCAA tourney.
In Indianapolis, as Calipari was being recognized for his election to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, he did not talk like a coach looking for the exit at Kentucky.
So it will be interesting to see how big a window Calipari gives himself to pursue the second NCAA title at UK that would separate his coaching tenure here from any Kentucky coach not named Adolph Rupp.