It's been chalk thus far in the East Regional of 2019 NCAA Tournament, but 3-seed LSU is looking to break that trend as it takes on 2-seed Michigan State. The game will tip off the Friday Sweet 16 schedule with a 7:09 p.m. ET start time from Capital One Arena in Washington D.C. Both teams have been challenged so far, as the Spartans got more than they expected from 15-seed Bradley in the first round, while LSU, after a tight game with 14-seed Yale in the first round, had to hold off a fierce comeback by 6-seed Maryland. The Spartans are six-point favorites in the latest LSU vs. Michigan State odds, with the over-under for total points set at 148. Before locking in any LSU vs. Michigan State picks of your own, see the 2019 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 predictions from SportsLine's Tom Fornelli. 

A CBS Sports writer since 2010, Fornelli began handing out winners in all sports on SportsLine in 2018. And he's shown a particular knack for picking Michigan State hoops since he enters this matchup on an impressive 4-0 run on his college basketball picks involving the Spartans. Anyone who has been following along is way up.

Now he's locked in on Michigan State vs. LSU in the Sweet 16 and has evaluated this matchup from every possible angle. You can only see his pick at SportsLine. He's taken into account that Michigan State quickly shook off a slow start against Bradley to roll to a relatively comfortable 76-65 victory over the Braves. 

They further settled in against Minnesota in the second round, blasting the Big Ten foe 70-50 in the type of March Madness performance fans have become accustomed to seeing from Tom Izzo-coached teams. The Spartans won seven of their last eight regular-season games in addition to claiming the Big Ten Tournament title. With one of the tournament's best players in Cassius Winston (18.9 points per game) on the perimeter and a pair of experienced bigs in Kenny Goins (8.9 rebounds per game) and Nick Ward (13.7 points, 6.2 boards), the Spartans have one of the most complete rosters in the remaining 2019 NCAA bracket.

But that doesn't guarantee they'll be able to cover the Michigan State vs. LSU spread in the 2019 Sweet 16 against a resilient LSU squad. 

That's because the Tigers have overcome the loss of head coach Will Wade, who is suspended indefinitely amid a federal investigation. Interim coach Tony Benford stepped in and guided the Tigers past a Yale squad that was a trendy upset pick in the first round and then held off Maryland in a tight 69-67 victory thanks to a bucket from Tremont Waters in the closing seconds.

LSU has been tough in this situation all season, going 6-1 against-the-spread as an underdog. The Tigers feature an offense that averages over 80 points per game and have eight players who see regular minutes, four of whom average at least 10 points.

We can tell you Fornelli is leaning over, and he's also identified a critical x-factor that makes one side of the spread hit hard. He's only sharing what it is, and who to back, over at SportsLine.

Who wins Michigan State vs. LSU? And what critical x-factor makes one side of the spread hit hard? Visit SportsLine now to find out which side of the Michigan State vs. LSU spread you should be all over Friday, all from the proven expert who has nailed four straight picks involving the Spartans