A "Honk if you're mad at Melo" sign sits on West Genesee Street, outside Rosie's Sports Bar on Tipperary Hill Tuesday night.
Fab Melo not playing in the NCAA tournament
brings a whole new meaning to March Madness.
The 7-foot center has been ruled ineligible to play in the NCAA tournament but
SU will not say why
. Melo missed three games earlier this season because of a reported academic issue, and the Orange suffered their only loss in the regular season while he was out.
"I'm disappointed. I changed my entire bracket," said Jack Borklund. "I don't think SU is making it past the second round."
The news spread quickly through social media and has been busting brackets all over Central New York. According to
, thousands of people are changing their picks for March Madness, 18.62% think Syracuse will reach the Championship game, down from 22.16% earlier in the day.
"I filled it (the bracket) out, but I'm doing a lot of erasing right now," said Rico Young. "I'm hoping guys like Dion Waiters and Kris Joseph step up. I hope they take an underdog sort of approach and go on a run."
"It's going to be tough for us, he's been a crucial part of the team this year, but I think we'll be okay," said Brooks Hausser.
Melo was named Big East Defensive Player of the Year with 3.7 blocks per game in league play and 3.1 overall.
Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim says the Orange will be "ready to play" without the sophomore. As he left the bus in front of the team hotel Tuesday, Boeheim at first said he had nothing to say. He then told The Associated Press that "all we can do is be ready to play with the guys we have."
Boeheim has not decided who will start in Melo's place.
Syracuse has a Number 1 seed in the East Region and will play 16-seed UNC-Asheville at 3:15pm on Thursday in Pittsburgh.
How do you think the team will do without Melo?