Gaudin: I Hate That Arizona And Kentucky Could Meet In Second Round

Brandon Gaudin believes Deandre Ayton is a "generational talent," but he has Kentucky topping Arizona in the Round of 32

March 13, 2018 - 8:44 am

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Brandon Gaudin believes No. 1 Virginia will advance to the Final Four, but it’s not going to be easy. That’s because a potential matchup with Arizona looms in the Sweet 16.

“Deandre Ayton is – at least in the collegiate level – a generational talent,” the Big Ten Network, FS1 and Westwood One play-by-play broadcaster said on Ferrall on the Bench. “He is a man. When he is on the floor and he is not in foul trouble, he completely changes the game. It changes what you do if you’re Arizona on offense, and it changes what the other team does on defense because he is such a disruptor that you have to plan around him. You cannot attack the rim the same way when he is in the game.”

Ayton averaged 20.3 points, 11.5 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game this season. He was unstoppable in the Pac-12 Tournament, averaging 32.0 points and 16.0 rebounds in semifinal and championship wins over UCLA and USC.

Unfortunately for Arizona, Kentucky looms in the Round of 32.

“Of the first two rounds, what I hate the most is that Kentucky and Arizona could meet in Round 2,” Guadin said. “I sympathize with the committee. People always bash them. They can’t get it perfect. You can’t please everybody. There’s going to be an early round matchup that people say, ‘Why?’ To me, that’s Kentucky and Arizona. I would love to see that matchup later on in the tournament as a possibility, but (as a) 5/4 in the second round? There’s so much firepower in that game.”

Gaudin has Kentucky beating Arizona and then losing to Virginia, mainly because of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who scored 29 points in the SEC Championship against Tennessee.

“Remember that name,” Gaudin said. “He is really making that entire Kentucky engine go right now. As good as Ayton is, I think Kentucky has the length to disrupt him, and I think they’ve got a combination of shooting on offense and the ability to go inside as well that can knock Arizona off in that second-round game.”

In the NCAA Tournament, Gaudin typically prefers elite offensive teams to elite defensive teams, but he’s making an exception for Virginia.

“I think if you had to take a high-octane offense versus a really, really good defense and you could only pick one for the NCAA Tournament, I would lean toward the high-octane offense,” he said. “Just because of the nature of match-ups and the volatility that can come with NCAA Tournament play, I think you’re better to have scorers that can be more consistent putting the ball in the basket. But do I think Virginia can win the NCAA Tournament? I absolutely do. I’ve got them going to the national championship game and losing to Purdue.”

Gaudin said the three best teams he saw this year – not most talented, but the best teams – were Virginia, Villanova and Purdue.

“To me, it’s refreshing to see three programs like Purdue, Villanova and Virginia that seem to be doing it in an old-school sort of way,” he said. “That’s why I like all three of those teams to (have a shot at making the) Final Four.”