Philly Sports Live

Fab Melo ineligible for NCAA tourney

Update Your Brackets: Not So Fab-ulous 

PITTSBURGH — Syracuse will have to chase a national championship without starting center Fab Melo, who has been 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 because of an eligibility issue. The school did not elaborate.

Melo was declared ineligible by Syracuse, not the NCAA, according to Bob Williams, the NCAA vice president of communications.

Melo was the Big East defensive player of the year and made coach Jim Boeheim’s 2-3 zone defense a formidable one. He averaged 7.8 points, 5.8 rebounds and registered 88 blocks for the Orange, who spent a good portion of the season ranked No. 1 despite multiple off-court distractions.

Syracuse, given the top seed in the East Region, opens play at 3:10 p.m. ET Thursday against UNC Asheville (24-9), the Big South champion.