Ohio State Continues Smothering Defense

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

The AP poll isn’t the only place the Ohio State Buckeyes are ranked third. Ohio State is also third in the nation in scoring defense, allowing an average of 54.6 points a game to the opposition so far this season. The Buckeyes’ defense was stellar again tonight in Ohio State’s 76-64 non-conference victory over the University of Delaware.

The Buckeyes held the Blue Hens to 43 percent shooting from the field and forced 13 turnovers, allowing only guard Jarvis Threatt out of Delaware’s starting lineup to score in double figures. Ohio State guard Aaron Craft contributed four steals to the Buckeye defensive effort and forward LaQuinton Ross added three blocks. The performance on defense tonight is just another example of why Ohio State is among the favorites to win the Big 10 this season.

The undefeated Buckeyes haven’t allowed an opponent to cross the 70-point plateau yet this season in 11 games. In six of their contests they have held the opposition under 60 points. The cumulative field goal percentage of their opponents is 36.6 percent, fifth best in the country. Ohio State’s turnover margin is a plus five, 11th best in the nation. The only real knock against the Buckeye defense is that they need to cut down on the fouls.

Ohio State is tied for third in the nation in personal fouls committed, averaging 15 per game. Part of this issue is the new hand-check rule in college basketball this year, and given more time the Buckeyes should be able to adapt and cut down on the opponents’ trips to the foul line. It wouldn’t hurt if the offense became more efficient as well.

Ohio State has topped 90 points just once so far on the season and is averaging 76.2 points per game, fewer than 110 other division one basketball teams so far. When the Big 10 season begins they will be facing teams that are just as proficient defensively as they are and will need to execute better on the offensive end to win the majority of their conference games.

Keeping up the defensive intensity shouldn’t be a problem for the Buckeyes as long as they stay healthy. Even if they do struggle offensively, that effort will be good enough to keep them in games long enough to find just enough offense to get the W.

Derek Helling is a writer for Rantsports.com. Follow him on Twitter, “like” him on Facebook and add him on Google+. Read more here

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