Badgers must heed Brunner

Wisconsin wants to keep Iowa forward off the glass; Morley doubtful for Wednesday

There is great respect that goes towards a rebounder who outworks everyone else for the ball—one who is not as tall and not as skilled, but shows a passion and effort unlike any other.

That's why when Greg Brunner comes with the Iowa men's basketball team to the Kohl Center on Wednesday, the Badgers know they will have their hands full with a guy whose motor is always running, and more often than not, is right in the middle of the action.

"They're heady players that have a nose for the ball and work hard. And he's definitely one of them," senior guard Clayton Hanson said. "As a player, I respect that and how they play, but once we step on the court, that's something we have to stop and do a better job of."

On a team that has been mired in inconsistency, Brunner has been the one constant. He averages 8.1 rebounds per outing, third best in the Big Ten.

As the leading rebounder on his team, Brunner is the main reason Iowa is second in the Big Ten in rebounding offense with 36.3 per game. On the flip side, the Hawkeyes are last in rebounding defense, allowing 36.4 rebounds per contest, and are eighth in the league in rebounding margin.

But do not fault the 6-foot-7 junior, who though undersized, makes up for it with his effort and heart and just works hard all the time to better his opponents.

"He's got a big body, he's quick, smart and when you put those together, it's tough for anyone," senior Mike Wilkinson said. "It doesn't matter how big you are, he finds ways to get the job done. As a defender, you just have to try to counter that and make him work and hopefully things don't go so well for him."

Wilkinson, like Brunner, is not the biggest post player in the gym, or the best leaper. But both master their fundamentals in order to give themselves a chance. Wilkinson, who is sixth in the conference with 7.2 rebounds per game, prides himself on beating opponents by doing the little things well. The same can be said with Brunner.

Considering the similarities between the two players, Wednesday's match up should be a physical one, with each player aiming to outwork the other.

"You have to match his intensity and take it a step higher," Wilkinson said. And try and outwork him. It's just work and there is no substitute for that. Brunner just outworks everyone he plays it seems like—can't let that happen with them."

Brunner and Wilkinson seem to have a niche for finding the ball. Diving for loose balls and lunging out of bounds for extra possessions, the two seem to do it all and are willing to throw it all on the line when it comes to getting a rebound for their team.

"You see a lot of those guys that are a little undersized," Butch said. "They just keep working, working and working and somehow have a way of getting to the ball. You can expect them to be battling with each other all night with neither giving in to the other."

Morley doubtful for Iowa

According to a UW Athletic Communications official, senior Zach Morley is doubtful for Wednesday's game against Iowa due to a left leg injury suffered in Saturday's game versus Minnesota.

Morley did not practice Monday or Tuesday.

This season, Morley is averaging 6.7 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game.

What: Iowa (3-5 Big Ten, 15-6 Overall) at Wisconsin (6-3, 15-5)
When: Wednesday, Feb. 9 at 7 p.m.
Where: Kohl Center (17,142), Madison, Wis.
Broadcast: The game will be televised on ESPN Plus and can be heard on the Wisconsin Radio Network.
Series Notes: This will be the 142nd meeting between the two teams. Iowa leads the series 74-67, but Wisconsin holds a 43-29 advantage in games played in Madison. The Badgers have won seven of the last nine games against the Hawkeyes, including the last three in a row.

Badger Nation Top Stories