Championship hopes in jeopardy? ESPN's Seth Greenberg discusses impact of Isaiah Livers' injury for Michigan
Entering March, Michigan was building its case as arguably the best team in college basketball, but the Wolverines will now enter the NCAA Tournament with a couple of question marks.
To finish the regular season, the Wolverines dropped two of their last three games. That stretch included a 23-point loss to an Illinois team that was missing Ayo Dosunmu and a season-finale loss to rival Michigan State.
Michigan did dispatch of Maryland in the B1G Tournament and likely has a No. 1 seed locked up despite losing in the semifinals to Ohio State. However, a bigger cause for concern is the injury and absence of Isaiah Livers.
It was announced Saturday that Livers would be sidelined indefinitely, putting a serious dent in Michigan’s depth entering the NCAA Tournament. Livers is second on the team in scoring at just over 13 points per game and is a solid all-around contributor and leader.
During Sunday’s College Basketball Live on ESPN, analyst Seth Greenberg discussed Michigan’s hopes for a deep March run without Livers. For Greenberg, the issue is not just about replacing Livers’ production but replacing the depth behind him on the bench:
“If Isaiah Livers doesn’t play, this is a totally different Michigan team — for two reasons,” said Greenberg according to 247 Sports. “You can’t replace Isaiah Livers. You can put in (Wake Forest graduate transfer and senior guard) Chaundee Brown. And you know what? Chaundee Brown can score and slash and score, and slash and make shots.
“But then who replaces Chaundee Brown, because it’s not just replacing Livers — you’ve got to replace two players. You’ve got to replace the guy in Isaiah Livers — who obviously plays great without the ball, knocks down jumpers, is a terrific defender. Brown has that experience from the ACC and this season, but they don’t have a replacement for Chaundee Brown, a guy that comes off the bench, makes plays, can score, and is kind of an energizer offensive player.”
Can the Wolverines regroup and prepare for a deep run in March, or will the absence of Livers lead to an earlier than expected exit for Juwan Howard’s team?