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Washington at Arizona: A brewing point guard rivalry

Time: 5 p.m. MST


ESPN's College GameDay will cover the Arizona Wildcats and Washington Huskies game in Tucson because this is a developing rivalry between two Pac-12 powers. Last year's games definitely proved it, and as Percy Allen of the Seattle Times notes, Derrick Williams and Isaiah Thomas were the catalysts.

There was Williams' epic block. There was a tough road loss in Seattle that saw the current Sacramento Kings point guard single-handedly demolish the Wildcats, spurring Sean Miller to call out every scout, analyst and coach who didn't think Thomas wasn't one of the best point guards in the nation. In the Pac-10 Tournament Championship, Thomas called off his coach's plea for a timeout -- despite Momo Jones knowing what was going to happen, he drained a fadeaway jumper despite having played an average of more than 40 minutes in three straight games over the course of three straight nights.

Thomas and Williams are gone. Calm your worries.

Finding a potential new storyline for the 5 p.m. game in McKale Center isn't too hard. Tony Wroten Jr. and Josiah Turner have you covered.

Both Turner and Wroten were ranked in the top-15 of nearly every recruiting service. Both were spurned from the McDonald's All-American game. Expectations were that both of them would fight for the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year award.

So far, their careers have gone separate ways. Wroten leads the Huskies with 17.1 points per game, and he also grabs 4.6 boards and averages 3.3 assists per game.

Meanwhile, Turner has rarely shown lengthy flashes of dominance, and his up-and-down season finally culminated with an impressive nine-point, four assist game on Thursday against Washington State, where his impact went well beyond the numbers. He willed Arizona to a early second-half burst, but then picked up two separate technical fouls after losing his head.

Turner's season averages stand at a so-so 7.3 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game.

But considering he looked lightyears more assertive on Thursday, the match-up between the two highly-touted point guards could be one to watch. Former Arizona recruit Abdul Gaddy starts as the point guard alongside Wroten so they likely won't be matched up against one another, but this just might be the beginning of something of an individual rivalry that will blossom down the road.

Turner and Wroten are eerily similar. Both are big, strong athletes that have the ability to get to the hoop and finish. Each of them have great vision and could end up being great pick-and-roll players in the NBA. They have a long way to go -- especially Turner -- but NBA scouts are likely already watching.

The Wildcats and Huskies have been pushing for a bitter rivalry for the past decade.

The duo of Wroten and Turner, when all is said and done, could end up being the next Hassan Adams and Brandon Roy battle of 2005, when Roy went for 35 and Adams scored 32 in a 96-95 double overtime win for Arizona.

Sure, any combo of Turner, Wroten, Nick Johnson, Kyle Fogg, or Terrence Ross could make this one interesting. But considering the first two players' swagger and emotional nature -- and their similar game -- the bet is on them.

And for a Pac-12 Conference desperately in need of positive exposure, Saturday's nationally-televised game would be a good time for Turner and Wroten go at it.


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