Kevin Rivoli, File, Associated Press
FILE - In this Jan. 15, 2011, file photo, Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim, right, talks with Fab Melo during the first half against Cincinnati in an NCAA college basketball game in Syracuse, N.Y. Melo did not travel with the team to Pittsburgh and the university says he won't take part in the NCAA tournament due to an eligibility issue. The school would not elaborate.

PITTSBURGH — Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim says he feels bad for ineligible center Fab Melo and the team.

Boeheim said Wednesday that losing a teammate at this time is a "very difficult thing to go through." Seniors Kris Joseph and Scoop Jardine say the top-seeded Orange will move on without the 7-footer who was declared ineligible for the NCAA tournament by the school over academic issues.

Syracuse faces 16th-seeded UNC-Asheville (24-9), which is playing a top-seeded Big East team for the second straight season, losing 71-47 to Pittsburgh last year.

Boeheim says he can't talk about Melo's ineligibility.

Jardine says the Orange believe in themselves and will "step it up a notch and we'll be fine." He says the team doesn't know why Melo was ruled ineligible.

Melo missed three games earlier this season when he was declared ineligible for academic reasons.