Worlds collide Sunday in Madison when No. 22 Iowa travels to the Kohl Center to face the fourth-ranked Badgers. The match-up of border rivals features a few unusual story lines.
Hawkeye Sophomore Jarrod Uthoff plays at Wisconsin for the first time since a publicized transfer from the school two years ago. Badger Senior Ben Brust again faces an Iowa program from which he escaped a letter of intent after Fran McCaffery replaced Todd Lickliter in 2010.
The Big Ten brethren compete for recruits regularly as it is. It's just not often that two key players switch allegiances during their time. Iowa fans make sure Brust hears it at Carver-Hawkeye Arena and Uthoff can expect to be called a traitor on Sunday (7 p.m. CT, BTN).
The media latched the athletes' controversial switching schools when they happened. Reporters and fans have wondered how it affected McCaffery's relationship with Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan.
"It's the same," McCaffery said of how it is now compared to before the transfers. "The reality is this, he's trying to get his team to win a national championship and we're trying to do the same thing. We play them twice. We're going to try to beat then twice,. They're going to try to beat us twice.
"You compete on the floor. You compete in recruiting. We're trying to win. It doesn't mean you don't respect the other person and the job that they're doing. It doesn't mean that you can't be cordial."
The coaches grew in Pennsylvania and worked their way up the coaching ladder in similar fashion. They've crossed paths throughout the years, although Ryan, at 66, is 12 years McCaffery's senior.
"We weren't going to each other's house for Christmas dinner before (the transfers)," McCaffery said. "We're not going now. If I see him, we talk. We're both from the same area. There's no animosity. There's no dislike other than we're trying to beat them and they're trying to beat us.
"I think people really make more out of it than is there. There's really nothing there. But for some reason people want to continue to talk about it and it doesn't make any sense to me."
You can listen to McCaffery talk about it and preview his team's match-up with the Badgers (14-0) in the complete audio from his teleconference links below:
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