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Familiar foe

Matt Painter, Paul Lusk and Jack Owens are former coaches at Southern Illinois.

Lusk led the Salukis to three straight NCAA tournaments as a player and graduated from SIU.

Jerri Painter, Matt’s wife, has two degrees from the university.

In order words, Painter would rather not lead his No. 10 Purdue team against Southern tonight in a game at the Chicago Invitational Challenge at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Ill.

Buthe has no choice.

“Southern Illinois is a great place,” Painter said. “The people there were absolutely fabulous to me. I met a lot of friends and stay in contact with a lot of people still down there. Any time you leave a job and take another one, it’s difficult. It was a difficult thing to do because I was happy at Southern Illinois. You make a decision that’s best for you and your family to take another job. As you move forward, you have to play those teams and (sometimes) they have players on those team you recruited.

“I’m more worried about trying to beat them than anything. … Sure you want to win a game and beat your next opponent. I’d rather not play them, just like I’ve always said about Illinois (with Bruce Weber), just because you’re friends with the coaches.”

Purdue will play either Wright State or Richmond on Saturday.