Syracuse senior forward James Southerland will not play Saturday against visiting Villanova, as he has been ruled ineligible until further notice, a press release from the athletic department announced less than an hour before tip-off.
Here's what the release said:
"Due to an eligibility matter, Senior James Southerland will not participate in competition until further notice. Given University policy and federal student privacy laws, we are unable to provide any further details at this time."
Southerland is the Orange's second leading scorer (13.6 points per game) and main 3-point shooting threat.
Freshman forward Jerami Grant and freshman guard Trevor Cooney will be expected to saddle up and help make up for the lack of production.
Though, there's no word on what exactly the eligibility issue is we can all speculate that it is probably an academic issue because the university will not speak about it and this is happening before classes for the Spring semester start on Monday. (The Post Standard is hearing the same rumors.)
Unfortunately, the news is eerily similar to what happened to Fab Melo last season before a Midwest road trip to Notre Dame and Cincinnati.
At that time, the Orange had compiled a 20-0 record and the No. 1-ranked team in the country. Currently, the Orange (15-1) are the seventh ranked team in the nation.
Really, I don't have much more to say about this considering that's all the information we have. All we can hope is that the issue is solved quickly and doesn't come back to bite us like it did last season with Melo.