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Protecting ball is key

Purdue tied a season-high with 17 turnovers against Ohio State.

Matt Painter wants that number to decrease -- right now.

The Boilermakers were tied for 20th in the nation in turnover average (11.4 per game) through Feb. 18.

But they struggled against the Buckeyes, throwing the ball away three times on inbounds plays and throwing to no one at least two other times.

Illinois likely will play mainly man-to-man defense today, and Purdue had 14 turnovers in its previous meeting with the Illini.

Painter said the ideal number for his team is 12 per game, six in each half.

"If we could get somewhere between eight to 12, I think that's good for us," Painter said. "One is probably a little bit of an extreme, but I think the 12 is a good gauge. When you start to get more than that, I think teams are really going to start creating points off your turnovers. But when you're aggressive, you're going to have a turnover or two."

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