Almost all of the top seeds have advanced in the 2019 NCAA Tournament, and that should make for some exciting and competitive Sweet 16 games. The East Region still has all four of the top seeds remaining, including third-seeded LSU and second-seeded Michigan State. The Tigers and Spartans will square off on Friday night for what should be an absolute battle.
Michigan State struggled in their first-round game against Bradley, but they looked sharp in a blowout victory over Minnesota in the second round. The Spartans come into this game having won seven straight games. LSU has had to sweat out both of their NCAA Tournament games, but have come up clutch down the stretch. The Tigers have won seven of their last eight games. Michigan State is a -6.0 point favorite over LSU.
Winston Setting Tone For Spartans
Michigan State point guard Cassius Winston is one of the best players in all of college basketball, and he sets the tone for the Spartans. Winston leads the Spartans with 18.9 points and 7.6 assists per game this season, and he knows how to put his teammates into position to succeed. Michigan State averages 79 points per game and shoots 38 percent from deep, and a lot of that is due to Winston.
Tom Izzo is one of the best coaches in the country, and his teams always play with a toughness that is hard to match. The Spartans out-rebound their opponents by 9.5 rebounds per game this season, which is the 4th best mark in the country. Forwards Nick Ward and Kenny Goins have combined for 21 points and 15 rebounds per game.
Interim Coach Guiding Tigers
LSU has had a terrific season, but they have also had their share of setbacks. The Tigers have been without head coach Will Wade for the last few weeks, but interim coach Tony Benford has been leading the team well. LSU is a high scoring team, averaging more than 80 points per game, but they also allow close to 73 points per night. The Tigers will try to speed up the tempo in this game, but that might come back to bite them.
Point guard Tremont Waters leads the team with 15.1 points and 5.9 assists per game and was the hero in the win over Maryland. LSU also has plenty of size to throw at the Spartans in Naz Reid and Kavell Bigby-Williams. That duo has combined for more than 21 points and 13 rebounds per game this season. They will have to find a way to keep the Spartans from dominating the paint in this game.
Michigan State Eliminates LSU
Michigan State and LSU are very similar teams, and they have both had terrific seasons. The Spartans have one of the best point guards in the country in Cassius Winston, but Tremont Waters is great as well. This game will likely be won on the defensive end of the floor, and that is where the Spartans excel. Look for Michigan State to pull away late and advance to the Elite Eight. Bet the Michigan State Spartans -6.0 over the LSU Tigers.