Michigan has been regarded as one of the best teams in college basketball this season, finishing the year with a 20-4 record and winning a regular season B1G title in Juwan Howard’s second season as head coach. But ESPN’s Joe Lunardi believes that’s about all the Wolverines will do this season.

With the bracket out and games approaching, the college basketball expert is predicting that Michigan will be the first No. 1 seed to be knocked out of this year’s tournament. He believes the absence of Isaiah Livers is too much to overcome.

“Everybody knows about the B1G jinx. 21 straight years without a national champion. But here we are, the B1G has two No. 1 seeds and two No. 2 [seeds], led by regular season champion Michigan,” Lunardi said. “But I think the Wolverines are the first No. 1 seed to fall without leading scorer and rising star Isaiah Livers.

“The Wolverines hope to get him back later in the tournament but aren’t sure, so I’ve got Big Blue bowing out in the Sweet Sixteen against Florida State.”

Livers has been ruled out indefinitely with a foot injury. It’s unclear if he’ll be able to return at any point during the NCAA Tournament, though he’s not losing hope.

Livers was the team’s second-leading scorer at the time of his injury, averaging 13.1 points per game. He also converted on a team-high 50 shots from 3-point range this year.

Michigan is scheduled to open the NCAA Tournament on Saturday and will play the winner of the Mt. St. Mary’s, Texas Southern play-in game.