Michigan State vs LSU : LSU presents a different physical challenge that Michigan State has yet to face this season. This is the game where the Michigan State turnover issues will matter, with LSU coming up with steal after steal, and converting enough to pull this off. The Spartans first face 3-seed LSU in the Sweet 16 on Friday at Capital One Center.
Michigan State vs LSU Live Stream: How to Watch NCAAM Basketball 2019 Online Free HD TV Coverage
MSU has only had four players foul out this season, none since Matt McQuaid picked up five in an overtime loss to Indiana on Feb. 2. Winston (vs. Louisville), Goins (vs. Nebraska) and sophomore Xavier Tillman (vs. Kansas) are the others who fouled out this winter.
Izzo continues to sit players who pick up two fouls in the first half, which has meant using freshmen in pivotal moments — Foster Loyer replacing Winston at point guard, Gabe Brown taking over on the wing for McQuaid or Aaron Henry, and Thomas Kithier spelling Goins, Tillman or Nick Ward in the post.
Twenty players have fouled out against LSU this season, and it will be part of the Tigers’ strategy to attack the Spartans and try and make Izzo go to his bench.
“That’s gonna be a big part of the game plan,” LSU senior forward Kavell Bigby-Williams said. “They’ve got some good bigs, but we’ve got some good bigs and a lot of depth on our team. The fact that we can use our depth to our advantage, hopefully that can help us win the game.”
That is where the Spartans’ poise will be needed. The veterans, led by Winston, a junior, and seniors McQuaid and Goins, realize their presence on the court is needed from here out. And avoiding unnecessary fouls is imperative.
“Knowing that they draw a lot of fouls, just to be solid,” Tillman said. “When they try to play physical, be smart and get your hands out of there, but at the same time still be able to contest the shots that they shoot. And as far as rebounding, show that you’re not overly physical but you do the job so they don’t get the rebounds.”
“You just gotta be stronger. You gotta know that they have guys who are willing to get fouls. With us, I don’t feel like we have guys who are like, ‘OK, I’m gonna get a foul and I’m gonna be OK with that.’ Everybody wants to play, everybody wants to be on the court. They just try to be as solid as possible. “
That ability to stay on the court is vital for No. 2 seed MSU in the NCAA tournament, with Tom Izzo mostly using a six-man rotation and giving his starters a heavy workload. And it will be tested Friday in the Sweet 16 against No. 3 seed LSU, a team that actively tries to get opponents in foul trouble.
“We watch film on it, talk about that and just the way they try to draw you into fouling,” MSU senior forward Kenny Goins said in the locker room at Capital One Arena. “It’s really just based on most of them coming toward you and through you. Sometimes you gotta give up stuff to preserve yourself in the late-game.”