In what will be a major blow to Syracuse hopes of advancing to the Final Four and playing for a national championship, Orange center Fab Melo, so integral to the team's play, especially on the defensive end of the court, will not play in the NCAA Tournament and did not travel with the team to Pittsburgh for the team's opening NCAA Tournament game with #16 seed UNC-Asheville. The report from SUAthletics.com provides little information, only stating he will not play because of an eligibility issue:
Syracuse University sophomore men's basketball center Fab Melo did not travel with the team to Pittsburgh, and will not take part in the NCAA Tournament due to an eligibility issue. Given University policy and federal student privacy laws, no further details can be provided at this time.
This is the second time this season that Melo has been kept off the court due to eligibility issues. It was assumed but never officially confirmed that his first suspension was due to academic issues. Syracuse suffered its only loss of the regular season on the road at Notre Dame when Melo was not in the lineup. Obviously, his absence will dramatically lower the expectations and likelihood that Syracuse will win the NCAA Tournament.
Without Fab Melo, Syracuse's chances of winning the tourney dropped by more than half. Now just 3.3% per our model.— Nate Silver (@fivethirtyeight) March 13, 2012
Alter your brackets at home accordingly.