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Fab Melo Eligibility Issue: Syracuse Center Ruled Out Of 2012 NCAA Tournament

Syracuse Orange center Fab Melo, the Big East Defensive Player of the Year, did not travel with the team to Pittsburgh and will not participate in the 2012 NCAA tournament due to an eligibility issue, the school announced on Tuesday.

No further details have been provided.

The blow is a harsh one to Syracuse, which enters the tournament as the No. 2 overall seed. Melo averaged 7.8 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.9 blocks this season while anchoring Syracuse's 2-3 zone defense.

During three games the seven-footer missed earlier this year while dealing with academic issues, Syracuse was 2-1, including its first loss of the season, a 67-58 defeat at Notre Dame.

Syracuse's depth has been a crucial factor to its 31-2 start, but losing Melo for the NCAA tournament could prove crushing.

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