Gators' future strength hinges on Walker

Chris Walker's draft decision will drastically impact Florida's 2015 title chances. Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports

ARLINGTON, Texas -- No one saw this coming. Not the loss in the national semifinal against UConn, but this Florida Gators team reeling off 30 consecutive victories and entering the NCAA tournament as the odds-on favorite to cut down the nets in North Texas.

Sure, this was a group that had a fighter’s chance entering the season, but usually you need a bona fide star in order to rise to No. 1 and stay there for a significant portion of the season. Billy Donovan lacked one of those. Sure, Scottie Wilbekin had a tremendous season, but he will be fortunate to be drafted to the NBA come June. The Gators' most talented player is 6-foot-10 Chris Walker, who wasn’t even cleared to play until January -- and he logged just two minutes against the Huskies.

This was Donovan’s chance to enhance his legacy. He won back-to-back titles with Joakim Noah and Al Horford in 2006 and 2007, but to have done it again with this team would put him in a different stratosphere in terms of elite coaches.

Now, Donovan might have to wait awhile longer to get another opportunity like this one.