On Tuesday afternoon, March 13th, 2012, 2:47 pm I ripped up my NCAA tournament bracket.
That is the earliest in the history of the NCAA tournament that anyones bracket was considered useless.
In big bold red print on ESPN my favorite team and my favorite to win the national championship was done. The print read “Syracuse Orange Center Fab Melo ruled ineligible for the NCAA tournament.”
I walked into the kitchen at my job, pulled my work shirt over my head and put my head in my hands.
Call it howarding.
The loss of Melo completely changes the dynamic of this tournament. Syracuse was considered at minimum a favorite to make the Final Four and by others including yours truly to win the national title.
After going 31-2 and winning the Big East regular season crown it would’ve been hard to bet against them. Syracuse had its best all around team since their title run in 2003.
It was Jim Boeheim’s deepest team with four guards capable of running the point guard position, six players who can light up the scoreboard, and a defensive intimidator in Melo who was almost equal to freshman phenom Anthony Davis in terms of shot blocking.
Melo was Syracuse’s only interior presence an with the kind of production he received from Dion Waiters, Kris Joseph and others that was all Syracuse needed.
Now without him Syracuse is screwed.
Without Melo the Orange go from a title contender to a team that would be lucky to make the Sweet 16.
After UNC-Asheville the Orange have to get through either Kansas State, Vanderbilt, Wisconsin, Cincinnati, West Virginia and Ohio State in some combination and all of those teams have some fore of interior presence whether it be Yancey Gates, Jared Sullinger or Kevin Jones.
Unless Rakeem Christmas or Baye Moussa Keita can put together some sort of inside production then the Syracuse Orange will be the first number one seed eliminated in the tournament.
Jim Boeheim and the Syracuse Orange have overcome two scandals and constant scrutiny to stay at the top of the rankings this season and prime themselves for a run at the national title.
However, the loss of Fab Melo will be the straw the breaks the backs of the Syracuse Orange.
A dream season has now become a nightmare.
Now excuse me while I try to piece this bracket back together.