Fab Melo's absence from the Men’s Basketball Championship will no doubt hurt Syracuse’s chances to win its first title since 2003.
Statistically how will Syracuse be impacted by the loss of Melo?
He missed three games during the season, including the Orange’s first loss of the season at Notre Dame. In those three games, Syracuse averaged 60.3 PPG (76.0 with him) and had a -11.0 rebound differential (-0.4 in the 29 games he played).
In the three games the 7-footer missed this season, Syracuse – understandably – saw a significant decline in specific areas of its offense. With Melo, the Orange averaged 35.4 points per game in the paint, but just 28.7 without him. Their second-chance PPG also dropped from 13.5 with Melo to 6.3 without.
Melo’s 7.8 PPG ranked sixth on the team this season, but the void he’ll leave on the defensive end might be where Syracuse sees the biggest impact.
In the three games Syracuse played without Melo, opponents averaged nearly 10 more points per 100 possessions, had a slightly higher field goal percentage and their offensive rebound percentage went from 39.1 to 42.2.
Most Blocks PG This Season
Players in NCAA Tournament
Melo’s 2.93 blocks per game ranks fifth among players in this year’s Men’s Basketball Championship. Melo had 37.6 percent of Syracuse’s blocked shots this season (88 of 234). With Melo out, Syracuse’s leading shot blockers are James Southerland and Baye Keita, both of whom averaged 0.9 BPG.
(Syracuse is one of the nation's best teams at converting defense into offense. The Orange average 1.23 points for every forced turnover, which is the second highest rate among schools in the Big Six conferences.)
Syracuse’s BPI this season was 89.7, but in the three games he missed, the Orange’s BPI was 73.1. (That number was brought down significantly by the 11-point loss to Notre Dame.) If you believe that Syracuse without Melo is a 73.1 BPI team, then that would drop the Orange from second to 41st in the season-long rankings, just ahead of West Virginia.