Saturday night was supposed to be one big party in Manhattan's Aggieville district, with Kansas State knocking off upstart Loyola and advancing to its first Final Four since 1964.
But then the game started.
"It was kind of a bummer," said John Boyington, a K-State graduate student.
He was inside Tubby's Sports Bar, where fans had quickly sensed that something special was slipping away.
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For every cry of annoyance at a bad shot by K-State there was a head shake at another three-pointer by Loyola. Fans waved their arms, yelled unprintable words and drained Bud Lights.
A few even had some choice words about the 98-year-old, internet-famous nun who has graced Loyola's every step along the bracket.
Some fans saw the bright side: This was a team that had come into the season followed by low expectations.
"For them to make it this far is outstanding," said Michelle Armstrong, a 43-year-old Kansas State fan who lives in Manhattan. "It really is."
But fans watched that skepticism turn to hope in the the throngs of March Madness, even if that hope faded by the time halftime rolled around Saturday, and fully collapsed before the final buzzer.
"Just to kind of get people excited again will be nice," said Lindsay Kubina, a 37-year-old Kansas State fan from Manhattan, when she showed up in Aggieville just before the game. "Maybe then we'll see the start of next season that people will kind of carry it through and be good about supporting their team again."
Outside, on a cold evening in Aggieville, not much was happening.
Police looped around shut-down streets, prepared just in case revelry broke out, and the main section of Aggieville was blocked off. But without a win, there was no celebrating on the streets of Manhattan.
When the game was over, the bars began to empty quickly.
On a night that could have been special, there wasn't much else left to say.
Still, it’s been a spectacular season, said Dave Lewis, the public address announcer during men's basketball games. He was among those in Aggieville after the final buzzer.
"We've had a lot of doubters here for this team for a long time," he said. "...This is a team that had as much grit and determination as any K-State basketball team I've seen."