Tuesday was a long day for some Syracuse Orange men's basketball fans, as most expected to hear news about the playing status of Orange sophomore center Fab Melo, who did not travel with the No. 3-ranked team this past weekend for their two-game, Midwest road trip because of, "an unresolved academic issue".
The Orange (21-1, 8-1 Big East Conference) host the West Virginia Mountaineers and the league's best inside-man, senior forward Kevin Jones, Saturday (1 p.m. on ESPNU) and Syracuse basketball faithful want to know WHAT'S GOING ON!?!?
Is he out for the year? When will we know? If he's done for the season, what are our chances of the Orange winning the Big East? Getting to the Final Four? Winning a National Championship? Ahhhhhhh!
The high anxiety of 'Cuse hoops fans Tuesday prompted local sports-talk radio host, Brent Axe, to announce on the airwaves that everybody needs to calm down, take a deep breath and relax a bit.
"When there's credible info on Fab, I'll pass it along," tweeted Axe during his show Tuesday.
|2011 - Fabricio Melo||20||22.6||3.2||5.6||56.3||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.9||1.6||54.8||2.6||3.1||5.7||0.7||1.6||0.5||3.0||3.0||7.2|
Meanwhile, as Axe was playing Dr. Shirlee Kenyon and trying to ease everyone's worries, the blogs, including SB Nation's Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician, was trying to string together all the rumors. The fans of the website NunesMagician.com went as far as creating a FanPost that allowed everyone to post whatever rumor they might have heard.
Explanations for Melo's absence ranged from missing too many classes, to a bad exam and a conspiracy involving: a shotgun wedding, Canada and the Ohio St. Buckeyes (jokingly).
And if you're looking for any word on Melo from the national experts, well, even they don't have it... Officially.
"For my vast experience begging for grades to be raised," said ESPN.com's Doug Gottleib Monday during his weekly college basketball podcast with Andy Katz, who reported on the story Saturday, "its you came up a little short on a grade that kept you eligible and you said, 'hey is there anything I can do?' He probably has to have a grade change."
"If he gets eligible, it doesn't necessarily mean that Syracuse is doing something shady. This happens all over the country to regular students and to athletes. The question is does he have more pull because he's an athlete?"
Fanatics have been looking for someone to point the figure at, and the main target has been the academic adviser, who's new job description involves doing students athletes' homework and attend class for them (who wants that job?).
Local Syracuse news organizations made it clear to those fans Tuesday that its not the academic adviser's job to do the student athlete's work -- yes, this need to be addressed.
"At the end of the day, it’s the student that needs to perform the work," said Onondaga Community College Athletic Director and former SU compliance officer Rob Edson in the report. "It’s the student that needs to go to class. It’s the student that needs to do it right."
If Melo is lost for the season, the Orange will now turn to freshman forward Rakeem Christmas, sophomore forward C.J. Fair, backup center Baye Keita and junior forward James Southerland to be the replacements for Melo, who is leading the Big East in blocks (3.0 per game) and is SU's leading rebounder (5.7 per game).
On Monday, without its starting center, Syracuse earned a solid road victory at the Cincinnati Bearcats, 60-53. Christmas played his best collegiate game tallying nine rebounds, three blocks and added fourpoints , while Southerland provided a solid spark off the bench collecting seven rebounds and seven points.
However, in the Orange's first loss of the season Saturday, 67-58, against host Notre Dame, SU really struggled inside as Irish junior forward Jack Cooley tallied 17 points and 10 rebounds. The Orange were also outrebounded 34 to 32.
Though, Monday's victory helped ease fans worries a bit there's still a lot of concern about the team's possible National Championship future without the 7-footer, who made tremendous strides from last season to this season.
So, Syracuse fans, like the rest of us local media members, now just sit and wait for the official news -- or Fab Melo tweets that play minds games with every 'Cuse fan (please, take it as nothing people). Lets just hope we all don't go blind from staring at our Twitter feed, which is calibrated to search for any words involving "Fab" OR "Melo".
For more Fab Melo's playing status for Saturday, check back to this StoryStream. Check out, the SB Nation's blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician to discuss it. If you're a college basketball nut, well, SB Nation's college basketball hub will solve your hoops cravings.