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Fab Melo News Changes Complexion Of East Region, Ohio State's Final Four Chances

The first big stunner of the NCAA Tournament came on Tuesday afternoon well before any first round games had even tipped off. Syracuse, the No. 1 seed in the East Region, and a favorite to make the Final Four, issued a release that towering center Fab Melo had been ruled ineligible for the entire 2012 NCAA Tournament and was not traveling with the team to their first round site in Pittsburgh. It's huge news for the entire field, but also particularly for the East region, where conveniently, the Ohio State Buckeyes are on the two line.

Read more on NCAA Tournament predictions.

Melo was ruled ineligible earlier this season, and the Orange were immediately a different team and were exposed at Notre Dame playing without the big man. He improved dramatically this season and was an anchor in the center of Jim Boeheim's infamous zone, even winning Big East Defensive Player of the Year. While you can be sure Thad Matta and the Buckeyes are not looking ahead, things in their region just got a whole lot easier with Melo now gone.

For more news, analysis, and discussion on the Buckeyes, visit Along The Olentangy, SB Nation's Ohio State blog. For all your NCAA tournament news and more on the Fab Melo suspension, be sure to visit SB Nation's college hoops hub.

RELATED: Printable NCAA Tournament Bracket

Photographs by spatulated, Triple Tri, and chrischappelear used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.