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Painter working to find right rotation

With sophomore point guard Lewis Jackson back from an injury and redshirt freshman John Hart emerging as a go-to player for spark purposes, Purdue coach Matt Painter's options are growing.

And it's tough to tell if that's a good thing.

"There's nobody in America playing 12 guys," said Painter, whose No. 10 Boilermakers defeated Penn State 66-46 Sunday. "I've got 12 guys that are walking into a game expecting to play. It's a good problem, but it's still a problem at times."

Here are the dozen: Guards Chris Kramer, E'Twaun Moore, Keaton Grant, Hart, Jackson, Kelsey Barlow, Ryne Smith and Mark Wohlford, forwards Robbie Hummel, D.J. Byrd and Patrick Bade and center JaJuan Johnson.

Eight players have started at least one game.

Juniors Hummel, Moore and Johnson will play about 35 minutes per game, depending on foul trouble. Kramer should stay in the high 20s to low 30s. That leaves eight players fighting for the rest.

Painter said Jackson, who started 30 games a freshman last season, will get playing time depending on his production. Jackson is one of four point guards with Barlow, Grant and Wohlford. Barlow has moved past Grant in the starting lineup, though Grant typically is on the floor in the game's final minutes.

Painter said he can't predict what will happen with players' minutes. He'll make determinations on who plays in games based on several factors, including production in practice, game matchups and who plays well once they've been subbed into games.

I asked Painter to break down the good and bad with having 12 options.

"The bad is you're probably not going to be able to play those 12 guys enough minutes for them to really get into the game, get into a flow and be able to be productive," he said. "That's a tough thing. I've always explained to them sometimes you're not going out of the game, somebody else is going back in.

"The good things are, if somebody is not playing well or somebody gets in foul trouble or you have injuries, you have experienced players who have been in tough situations before to put in where not everybody has that if they have only eight or nine guys with experience in their career. We have 12 guys who have played, and I think that can definitely help us."