Success For Ohio State Buckeyes Hinges On Playing Better Defense

By Brian Lester
Mary Langenfeld – USA TODAY Sports Images

Ohio State isn’t the most explosive team offensively, but the Buckeyes are capable of playing great defense night in and night out.

Sunday afternoon against Wisconsin was clearly one of those days where Ohio State didn’t bring its best effort on defense. It’s why the Badgers made their 71-49 win over the Buckeyes look way too easy. Wisconsin shot 53 percent against the Buckeyes, which is a sizzling performance for a team like Wisconsin,  and won a crucial conference game. Ohio State head coach Thad Matta wasn’t happy with the effort.

“We’ve seen the results if we’re not going to play defensively,” Matta said in a post-game press conference. “We’re not a good basketball team. If we’re going to rely on trying to outscore people, that’s not going to happen.”

Ohio State was blitzed by an 18-0 run in the opening half, and never recovered as it saw its last shreds of hope of winning the conference championship fade away.

Aaron Craft, the heart and soul of the Buckeyes’ defense, said the blame for the mediocre defensive effort is all on the players.

“This is on us,” Craft said in a post-game press conference. “Coaches can’t get us ready to play. The responsibility is on us as individual players. We’ve got to go and bring teammates with us. We can’t play like this in February. This is beginning of the year mistakes and mental errors.”

The Buckeyes still have time to get things right. The key is bringing it on defense, because in basketball, defensive energy often translates into success on offense. For the Buckeyes to get things back on track, they have to be at their best on the defensive end of the floor.

Brian Lester is a college basketball writer at Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @BLester1993.

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