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Syracuse rises to No. 6, faces tough slate while senior Southerland's status is evaluated

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    Syracuse's DaJuan Coleman cheers after his team scored against Villanova late in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Syracuse, N.Y., Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013. Syracuse won 72-61. (AP Photo/Kevin Rivoli) (The Associated Press)

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    Syracuse's C. J. Fair scores against Villanova's Daniel Ochefu,left, during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Syracuse, N.Y., Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013. Syracuse won 72-61. (AP Photo/Kevin Rivoli) (The Associated Press)

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    Syracuse's Jerami Grant takes the ball to the basket against Villanova during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Syracuse, N.Y., Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013. Syracuse won 72-61. (AP Photo/Kevin Rivoli) (The Associated Press)

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    Syracuse's James Southerland, who did not play due to academic issues, sits on the bench during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Villanova in Syracuse, N.Y., Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Kevin Rivoli) (The Associated Press)

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    Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim argues with referee Brian O'Connell during the first half against Villanova in an NCAA college basketball game in Syracuse, N.Y., Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Kevin Rivoli) (The Associated Press)

Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim is dealing with an eligibility issue for the second time in a year.

On Saturday, the university announced just before the Orange's tipoff against Villanova that senior James Southerland was out indefinitely.

A year ago, center Fab Melo missed three games in late January due to an academic issue, then was reinstated. But just before the start of the NCAA tournament, the sophomore big man was ruled ineligible again. He did not play another college game and was drafted by the Boston Celtics.

Although Boeheim cited privacy issues in declining to elaborate on Southerland's status after the Orange's 11-point win over the Wildcats, he says in an interview Monday at ESPN headquarters in Connecticut that "We will get through it and, hopefully, James will get through this."

Southerland is the team's third-leading scorer and a key player off the bench.