Before the No. 1-ranked Syracuse Orange put their unbeaten record on the line Saturday against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (6 p.m. on ESPNU), SU's head coach Jim Boeheim addressed the recent news that starting center Fab Melo is not traveling with the team during its three-day road trip because of "an unresolved academic issue from the first semester," says ESPN's college basketball insider Andy Katz.
"It's obviously a big loss in the middle," Boeheim said to Syracuse Sports Network's Matt Park. "We're hoping that Fab can get back. We have to clear some hurdles. We feel very strongly about our team. Everybody's going to have to work a little bit harder on the boards... We'll be ready."
The absence of Melo will allow sophomore forward C.J. Fair to make first collegiate start.
Fair is one of five SU bench players that usually comes into the game and plays significant minutes. In fact, Fair is the Orange's second best rebounder (5.2 per game) -- Melo averages a team-best 5.7 rpg -- and averages the second most playing minutes of any SU player (25.5 per game).
In three of his last six games, Fair has scored in double figures. During that span, Fair is averaging 11.0 points per game.
Also, look for sophomore reserve center Baye Moussa Keita (12.3) and freshman forward Rakeem Christmas (12.1) to see more playing minutes.
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