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Syracuse center Melo ineligible for tourney

Syracuse’s 7-foot center Fab Melo, who has been the team’s biggest defensive stopper this season, is ineligible for the second time, a huge blow to the Orange’s NCAA Tournament hopes. Melo missed three games this season because of an academic issue, and the current suspension could be related.

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Syracuse’s 7-foot center Fab Melo, who has been the team’s biggest defensive stopper this season, is ineligible for the second time, a huge blow to the Orange’s NCAA Tournament hopes. Melo missed three games this season because of an academic issue, and the current suspension could be related.

PITTSBURGH — Syracuse will have to chase a national championship without starting center Fab Melo, who was declared ineligible for the NCAA Tournament.

The university announced Tuesday that the 7-foot Brazilian, who did not travel with the team to Pittsburgh for the second- and third-round games, won't take part in the tournament due to an eligibility issue. The school did not elaborate.

Melo missed three games this season, including one of the top-seeded Orange's two losses, because of an academic issue.

NCAA spokesman Erik Christianson said Syracuse, not the NCAA, declared Melo ineligible.

Coach Jim Boeheim said the Orange will be "ready to play."

As he left the bus in front of the team hotel Tuesday, Boeheim at first said he had nothing to say. He then said that "all we can do is be ready to play with the guys we have."

"That's all we can do," he said. "There are injuries, things happen during a season. We'll be ready to play and we'll go play."

Melo's sudden ineligibility made waves in Las Vegas, where Cantor Gaming dropped Syracuse's chances of winning the title to 12-1 from 10-1 Tuesday morning, said Mike Colbert, Cantor's risk management director.

HENSON UPDATE: North Carolina coach Roy Williams said he probably won't know until Thursday whether John Henson will be ready for Friday's NCAA Tournament opener against the Lamar-Vermont winner.

Henson, the former Sickles standout, hurt his left wrist in a fall during the ACC tournament in Atlanta. The 6-foot-10 forward didn't play the final two games of the tournament, though he dressed for the championship game against Florida State.

"If I had to guess — and this is merely a guess — if the game were today he probably still would not play today," Williams said. "But we're being hopeful that he will be Friday."

DUKE: Coach Mike Krzyzewski said he hopes to have injured forward Ryan Kelly back on the practice court by Thursday. Kelly sprained his right foot during practice and missed the ACC tournament.

Around the nation

RICE OUT: Junior guard Glen Rice Jr. was kicked off the Georgia Tech team less than a week after a shooting incident outside an Atlanta nightclub led to criminal charges while Rice was already serving a suspension.

PAC-12: The conference tournament will be held at the MGM Grand hotel-casino in Las Vegas next year.

NORTH CAROLINA A&T: Jerry Eaves was fired as coach after posting a 99-180 record over nine seasons.

SAMFORD: Coach Jimmy Tillette was fired after 15 seasons that included NCAA Tournament berths in 1999 and 2000. Tillette went 229-219 with the Bulldogs.

SMU: Coach Matt Doherty was fired after six seasons in which the high-profile former North Carolina coach failed to take the Mustangs to the NCAA Tournament. Doherty went 13-19 this season and 80-109 overall.

SOUTH CAROLINA: Coach Darrin Horn was fired after four seasons. The team posted fewer victories in each season under Horn, bottoming out at 10-21 and 2-14 in the league, its worst record in 20 years in the SEC.

UCLA: Athletic director Dan Guerrero said coach Ben Howland will remain in charge of the troubled program.

Syracuse center Melo ineligible for tourney 03/13/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 13, 2012 10:46pm]

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