Ohio State used its strong defense over the weekend to avoid back-to-back losses and pull over .500 in the Big Ten. The 23rd-ranked Buckeyes will attempt to avoid a second straight home loss when they host struggling Northwestern on Wednesday. The Wildcats looked like they were making a move in the conference with four wins in five games before falling flat with a three-game slide.Ohio State is among the nations leaders in points allowed on defense and held a third opponent to less than 40 points in Saturday's 48-39 triumph at Illinois to help make up for a lackluster performance on the other end. Aaron Craft was the only player to score in double figures with 14 points while the Buckeyes shot 38.3 percent. Northwestern is not the type of team that can penetrate a strong defense like Ohio State, ranking among the lowest in the nation with an average of 60.7 points offensively.TV: 7 p.m. ET, Big Ten NetworkABOUT NORTHWESTERN (12-14, 5-8 Big Ten): The Wildcats have scored more than 55 points once in the last four games - an 85-70 loss at Michigan State - and rank last in the Big Ten in scoring - more than five points fewer than the next-closest team. Drew Crawford leads the team in scoring at 15.6 points but is struggling to 40.7 percent from the field and went 1-for-15 from the floor in the 54-48 loss to Minnesota on Sunday. "Our margin for error in this league is very slim," coach Chris Collins told reporters. "We're going to play close games. … We need to find (ways), and I need to do a better job of helping guys manufacture points."ABOUT OHIO STATE (20-6, 7-6): The Buckeyes manufactured just enough points on Sunday by giving plenty of time down the stretch to reserves Trey McDonald, Marc Loving and Amedeo Della Valle. Loving, in particular, drew praise from his teammates following the contest. "We've got five games left (in the regular season) and we need that from (Loving)," Craft told the Columbus Dispatch. "He can't be inconsistent down the stretch." Loving put up eight points in 16 minutes at Illinois after totaling three points in the previous six contests.TIP-INS1. The Buckeyes have taken eight straight in the series.2. Craft is shooting 65.4 percent from the field over the last four games.3. Wildcats G JerShon Cobb has scored more than 20 points in back-to-back games.PREDICTION: Ohio State 68, Northwestern 52