Ohio State ranks 59th nationally in points allowed per possession through the first five games of the season.

“We’re trying hard on defense, and that’s a step,” Buckeyes head coach Thad Matta said. “Now it’s understanding what we’re trying to take away, the path that you need to take. Sometimes the path of least resistance gets you in a lot of trouble.”

Matta said before the season that an emphasis for his backcourt – and the Buckeyes defense overall – was to generate more points off turnovers. The Buckeyes are eighth in the Big 10 in turnover rate and rank 212th in the country in the category.

“One of the big things with this team is just getting them to understand how long and athletic they are,” Matta said. “You’ve got another gear of providing help and you can still get back to your man; the ball can’t travel as fast as you are. Those are things you’re trying to show guys, (that they can) give a little bit more in terms of support.”

Aaron Craft, who was honored as the Big Ten defensive player of the year last season, has seen his steal percentage drop from 4.63 to 3.14, which ranks 412th nationally.

“The defensive (effort) has to be there every game, regardless of (whether) I’m shooting 100 percent or 5 percent. It’s got to be there,” he said. “Playing defense is a total mindset and a total attitude, and when we grasp that as a team, and we do at times, we can be pretty good. And that’s going to lead to our best offense, layups in transition and things like that.”