The 2019 NCAA Tournament has not had as many upsets as in recent years, and that should make for some terrific games in the Sweet 16. One of the most highly anticipated games will be between the (3) LSU Tigers and the (2) Michigan State Spartans in the East Region. The winner of this game will advance to take on the Duke/Virginia Tech winner.
LSU was the regular season champion in the SEC this season with a record of 16-2. The Tigers needed a last-second shot to beat Maryland in the round of 32. Michigan State won the Big Ten regular season and conference tournament this season. The Spartans struggled in their first game against Bradley but blew out Minnesota in the round of 32. Michigan State is a -6.0 point favorite over LSU in this game.
Tigers Winning Without Head Coach
This LSU late-season run has been impressive, especially when you consider that the Tigers are playing without their head coach, Will Wade. The school has suspended Wade due to the threat of recruiting violations, and he won’t be with them in the Sweet 16. LSU has been winning games with their size and athleticism this season, but that won’t be an advantage against the Spartans. The Tigers do average 81 points per game, and can really score.
Point guard Tremont Waters leads the Tigers with 15.1 points and 5.9 assists per game this season and hit the game-winning shot that sent LSU to the Sweet 16. Forward Naz Reid has been a monster in the paint, pouring in 13.7 points while grabbing 7.2 rebounds. The Tigers don’t have a ton of depth, but they do have a terrific starting unit. LSU won’t be afraid to match up with the Spartans.
Winston, Ward Leading Spartans
Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo has plenty of experience to put on the court, especially in Cassius Winston and Nick Ward. Winston is the do-everything point guard of the Spartans, and Winston is a dominating force down low. The duo has combined to score more than 32 points per game this season. Winston also dishes out close to eight assists per game, while Ward grabs six rebounds per game.
The biggest problem for Michigan State this season has been taking care of the ball. The Spartans are averaging 13.0 turnovers per game, but are prone to giving it up close to 20 times. If Michigan State can take care of the ball, their outside shooting should win them this game. The Spartans make 38 percent of their shots from deep, and they hardly ever take a bad shot.
Michigan State Cruises to Elite Eight
This should be an up and down type game, and both teams have some terrific athletes. LSU loves to play fast, but Michigan State plays the type of defense that won’t allow that. The real difference in this game is the play of Cassius Winston. Winston will be the best player on the floor, and he just won’t let his Michigan State team lose. This game will be close for a while, but Michigan State is moving on.