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“When you have an undefeated team, the pressure does mount. Every possession it just seems to get bigger and bigger,” he said Monday. “I’ve said many times, (the Buckeyes’) poise has been so good. If anything, maybe with the pressure, their poise wasn’t quite as good. They turned it over yesterday. They seemed a little more erratic. It was Purdue’s defense, the intensity, the crowd _ it got to them a little bit. Which it hadn’t gotten to them (before).”

But Matta believes the losses are merely a result of an opponent playing inspired and flawless basketball _ and a lack of poise or toughness by his team.

“I’m not, like, panicked,” he said. “We’re 25-2.”

Now 12-2 in the Big Ten and ahead of Purdue by a game, Ohio State plays three of its last four at home. The only road trip is to Penn State (14-12, 7-8).

Even though the Buckeyes have not been perfect in their losses, Weber said even if they had been they still might not have escaped unbeaten.

“In the long haul, to me,” he said, “they just played good teams that were able to out-tough ‘em, outplay them for a day.”

Now he and his Illini will try to become the third team in 28 games to do that.