LSU Tigers vs Michigan State Spartans: Predictions, Odds and Roster Notes

How to Watch

Where: Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C., USA.

When: Friday, March 29th at 7:09pm EST.

How (TV/Radio): CBS; March Madness Live Stream on ncaa.com

LSU Tigers

Head Coach: Tony Benford (interim); Will Wade (suspended) {Overall: 28-6, .824 W-L% | Conference: 16-2, 1st in SEC}

Given the turmoil surrounding an FBI investigation into the program, it was not uncommon for brackets to include LSU falling to 14th seed Yale in the first round. Yet, the Tigers managed to make it to the second weekend for the first time since 2006, when they made the Final Four with Glen “Big Baby” Davis roaming the paint.

The Bayou Bengals have had to earn their keep in both their games so far, with a combined winning margin of just seven points. Their previous game in particular was a nail biter, as LSU escaped with a 69-67 win over Maryland on March 23rd. Junior guard and Baton Rouge local, Skylar Mays, was the top scorer with 16 points, while freshman forward Naz Reid chipped in 13 points.

LSU will face a much tougher opponent in this round, as they will take on a Spartan squad that allowed opponents to shoot just 37.7% from the field, which ranks third in the nation.

Michigan State Spartans

Head Coach: Tom Izzo {Overall: 30-6, .833 W-L% | Conference: 16-4, T-1st in Big Ten}

After three consecutive seasons of suffering early exits in the Big Dance, Tom Izzo’s Spartans have reached the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 2015 when they made the Final Four.

After a somewhat close game in the first round against Bradley, Michigan State took care against Big Ten Conference foe, Minnesota on March 23rd in Iowa. The Spartans took down the Golden Gophers 70-50, with sophomore forward Xavier Tillman leading the way with 14 points. Big Ten Player of the Year, Cassius Winston, added 13 points and nine assists.

These two schools have only met once prior to this game, with the lone meeting coming in 1979 in the Regional Final of that year’s tournament. The Spartans ended up winning 87-71 with future Hall of Famer Magic Johnson, en route to a national championship win over Larry Bird and Indiana State.

LSU Roster Notes

There are no injuries or roster changes to report for LSU outside of Will Wade’s suspension.

Michigan State Roster Notes

Junior guard Joshua Langford is out for the season after suffering an ankle injury against Illinois on December 29th.

Junior guard Kyle Ahrens is out indefinitely with an ankle injury, which he suffered against Michigan in the Big Ten Tournament final on March 17th.

Head-to-Head: Naz Reid vs Xavier Tillman

Naz Reid

Power Forward | 6-10, 250lb (208cm, 113kg) | Roselle Catholic HS | Ashbury Park, NJ | Freshman

13.7 PPG | 0.9 APG | 7.1 RPG | 0.8 SPG | 0.7 BPG | 2.6 TOV | .473 FG% | .354 3P%

Xavier Tillman

Power Forward | 6-8, 245lb (203cm, 111kg) | Grand Rapids Christian HS | Grand Rapids, MI | Sophomore

9.8 PPG | 1.7 APG | 7.2 RPG | 0.9 SPG | 1.7 BPG | 1.5 TOV | .610 FG% | .217 3P%

Each team has multiple players who are capable of taking over the game, yet despite the array of talent in this game, a key matchup will take place in the paint. Each of these underclassman big men have proven to be assets for their teams by making meaningful contributions in different ways.

Naz Reid has been one of the top freshman performers in the country this season, and NBA scouts are taking notice. A projected first round pick, Reid has put up solid scoring numbers against top competition in the SEC, as evidenced by 29 and 26 point performances against Mississippi State and Florida, respectively. His ability to occasionally step outside the arc and nail threes has helped LSU create space on offense for other scorers like Mays and Tremont Waters.

Although he usually does not pack the scoring punch of Reid, Michigan State’s Xavier Tillman provides value with his dominance on the glass. The in-state product has played a huge role in the Spartans getting second chance points, as he leads the Big Ten in offensive rebound percentage at 12.8%. Tillman has also been a solid rim protector, with five block performances against Maryland and Michigan; however, his ability to stay out of foul trouble has allowed coach Izzo to trust the sophomore with more minutes.

LSU vs Michigan State Predictions and Odds

Bettors who reside in New Jersey can wager on various props such as point spreads, over/unders, and player stats at the 888Sport sportsbook.

The moneyline odds on offer for this game are:

  • LSU Tigers: +235
  • Michigan State Spartans: -335