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Gimino prediction: Guard play makes the difference for Arizona

Counterpoint: Rivera prediction: Dawgs in a close one

I was a guest on two Seattle radio stations Friday to talk about Arizona basketball, and in both cases, the host claimed that today’s opponent, Washington, had the superior talent.

And UCLA, too, I added.

While the Wildcats have, by their standards, modest overall skills — we’ve said it before: who other than Derrick Williams would start on a vintage Lute Olson team? — there is something about this Arizona team that you have to start believing what you’re seeing.

Arizona’s seven-game winning streak began with a hard-fought road win at Washington State, which came after a loss at Washington. Since then, point guard MoMo Jones has played much better, sometimes scoring big, as he did in the thriller at Cal. But the most pleasing thing is that he and backup Jordin Mayes have cut down on the turnovers.

This time around, Washington, with the superb Isaiah Thomas, shouldn’t have such a huge advantage at the point guard position. Remember, he had 22 points, 10 assists and six rebounds in the first meeting.

Arizona knows what it is going to get from Williams. It pretty much knows somebody will help him with the scoring load — Jones? Kyle Fogg? Jamelle Horne? Solomon Hill? Jesse Perry?

But the big reason why Arizona can turn the tables on the Huskies from a month ago is UA’s improved guard play. Wildcats, 81-75.

More from TucsonCitizen.com:

Javier Morales breaks down the matchups and offers a tie-breaking prediction for the Arizona-Washington game.

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