The East region of the 2012 NCAA Tournament is home to the No. 1 Syracuse Orange and the No. 2 Ohio St. Buckeyes, but the former will be at a disadvantage without its top defender. Fab Melo was ruled ineligible for the entire NCAA Tournament due to academic issues. Will this prove too much for the Orange to overcome in their quest for a national title?
The only East region teams not playing Thursday are the No. 3 Florida St. Seminoles, the No. 6 Cincinnati Bearcats, the No. 11 Texas Longhorns and the No. 14 St. Bonaventure Bonnies. Here is the schedule for the East's matchups:
No. 8 Kansas St. Wildcats vs. No. 9 Southern Miss. Golden Eagles (truTV) - 12:40 p.m. ET
No. 1 Syracuse vs. No. 16 UNC-Asheville Bulldogs (truTV) - after conclusion of Kansas State vs. Southern Miss
No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 15 Loyola, Md. Greyhounds (TNT) - after conclusion of Gonzaga vs. West Virginia
For more on the 2012 NCAA Tournament bracket, stay with SB Nation's Selection Sunday StoryStream, and stick around SB Nation's NCAA Tournament hub for a complete printable NCAA Tournament bracket and tons of analysis on who was snubbed, who got the best bracket, and who will make it all the way to New Orleans and the Final Four.