The road out of the 2012 NCAA Tournament’s East Region got a little easier for Ohio State, and a little harder for Syracuse Tuesday.

Syracuse sophomore center Fab Melo did not travel with the team to Pittsburgh for the NCAA Tournament opener and will miss the entire postseason due to an undisclosed eligibility issue, according to a Syracuse University athletics release.

Melo, a native of Juiz de Forz, Brazil, was named the Big East Defensive Player of the Year by the conference’s coaches on March 3. The Orange (31-2) are the East Region’s top-seeded team and will proceed without Melo, who averaged a team-best six rebounds per game as well as eight points per game.

Syracuse opens its NCAA Tournament run against UNC-Asheville on Thursday at CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh.

The Buckeyes, the East Region’s No. 2 seed, probably won’t mind Melo’s absence.

OSU (27-7) cemented its placement in the East bracket, of which the regional championship will be held in Boston, with a run to the Big Ten Tournament Championship Game Sunday. There, OSU lost to the Big Ten Tournament’s top seed, Michigan State, 68-64.

OSU will meet the Loyola University Greyhounds of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. The Greyhounds defeated Fairfield, 48-44, to win the MAAC conference championship March 5.

Game time for Thursday’s contest between the Buckeyes and Greyhounds at CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh is set for 9:50 p.m.