Michigan State Basketball: 5 reasons Spartans will beat LSU in Sweet 16

Tom Izzo, Michigan State basketball (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Tom Izzo, Michigan State basketball (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /
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Can Michigan State basketball beat LSU to advance to the Elite Eight? Here’s your daily dose of optimism as to why the Spartans will beat the Tigers.

Tom Izzo wants No. 2. It’s obvious when you hear him talk, you see him passionately coaching his players and you watch his reactions on the sideline during the NCAA Tournament.

It’s been 19 years since the head coach hoisted a national title trophy, and he’s hoping this is the team that ends the drought. Doing so won’t be easy, though, as the Spartans face a tough road ahead with No. 3 seed LSU on Friday and a potential matchup with either No. 4 Virginia Tech or No. 1 Duke on Sunday.

Getting past LSU will be priority No. 1. Without that, nothing else matters.

Michigan State is favored in this one, but the Tigers have the athletes and the offense to give the Spartans problems.

But Michigan State will come out on top, and here’s why.

5. Nick Ward gaining confidence

Getting Nick Ward back was big for the Spartans. Not only did he give the team an extra body, but he brings with him plenty of low-post scoring and makes teams work that much harder to game-plan for Michigan State.

But he didn’t buy in right away.

When Ward returned from his injury, he was skeptical because the team had seemingly “moved on” from him, winning the Big Ten regular season title while playing some of its best basketball, but they reassured him that they needed him now more than ever. He listened.

After the conversation with teammates about how much they need him moving forward, Ward looked like his old self, even in limited action, against Minnesota, scoring nine points with seven rebounds and playing solid defense.

With Ward gaining confidence, the rest of the field is taking notice and realizing that Michigan State is just that much tougher to defeat.