ACC Baseball: One Week to Go
The final weekend of the regular season is a huge one in ACC baseball. The division title races are not yet decided, and neither is the seeding for the ACC Tournament next week at DBAP. Let's take a look at the series rounding out conference play on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
North Carolina (20-5) vs. Virginia (20-7)
Carolina needs to win one more game to sew up the Coastal Division title and the top seed at the ACC Tournament. That's what you need to know heading into this huge weekend matchup with Virginia. The Tar Heels would still be ahead of the Cavaliers on conference win percentage even if Virginia is able to take two of three in Chapel Hill this weekend.
Consequently, Virginia needs a sweep to finish at 23-7 and ahead of the Tar Heels. Because the winners of the two ACC divisions will be the #1 and #2 seeds at the Tournament, one of Carolina and Virginia will be #1, and the other #3.
Florida State (18-9) vs. Clemson (17-10)
A series win for the Seminoles gets them the Atlantic Division title. However, if Clemson gets the sweep, it's the Tigers who'll get the nod and the second seed. Things get interesting, here, however, if Clemson only wins two. With a sweep at Duke, N.C. State would leap up and grab the Atlantic title IF Clemson wins two from FSU.
N.C. State (16-10) at Duke (9-18)
As noted above, the Wolfpack will have a shot at the Atlantic Division title, but they need to sweep AND have Clemson to go 2-1 at Florida State. In that case, State would finish at 19-10 and Florida State at 19-11. This could shuffle Florida State all the way down to the #5 seed. Duke could get in with a sweep AND a Georgia Tech sweep of Miami, as the Blue Devils took two of three from the Hurricanes this season.
Georgia Tech (14-13) at Miami (12-15)
The Yellow Jackets would currently be the sixth seed. IF Tech goes 3-0 in Coral Gables AND N.C. State is swept at Duke, the Jackets would have the 5. Miami needs at least one win to feel safe at 8. A series win by the Hurricanes bumps Miami to 6 or 7, depending on . . .
Virginia Tech (13-14) vs. Wake Forest (9-18)
The Hokies are in at 7 and could go as high as 6 with a sweep. Wake Forest needs a sweep AND a Georgia Tech sweep of Miami to sneak in.
Maryland (9-18) vs. Boston College (3-23)
These teams are out of luck, particularly Maryland. Even if they somehow got to 12 wins, they'd lose a tiebreaker to Miami. Even if Duke sweeps N.C. State and it's a three-team tie, Miami gets the nod by virtue of their one win over Carolina. We could even have a four-way tie if Wake Forest sweeps Virginia Tech, Maryland and Duke sweep and Miami is swept. In that case, Wake Forest wins the tiebreak with the best win percentage against tied teams.
So, here's how they stack up now, and based on my calculations, here's the highest and lowest they can go:
Now, what do I think is going to happen, you ask? I think Carolina is very likely to get at least one win against Virginia and the top seed. Florida State wins their series over Clemson 2-1, so they take the #2. The third seed goes to Virginia. N.C. State wins two out of three over Duke, but it's not enough if Clemson takes one from FSU. So, you have #4 Clemson and #5 N.C. State. Miami wins two of three at home against mercurial Georgia Tech, and Virginia Tech takes two of three from Wake Forest. That has #6 Georgia Tech, #7 Virginia Tech, and #8 Miami.
What would that mean for Carolina? Round-robin play against #4 Clemson, #5 N.C. State and #8 Miami. Three teams that each took a win from the Tar Heels in 2013. What the heck, let's go ahead and slot when those games would be played? The ACC Tournament runs Wednesday through Sunday. The #1 seed gets to pick their day off, and I imagine Mike Fox would take Thursday, as the week would then set up normally, like one midweek game and a weekend series (counting Sunday). Also, we know the ACC wants fans in seats and TV eyes for prime time matchups. So here we go:
11 a.m. #3 Virginia vs. #6 Georgia Tech
3 p.m. #2 Florida State vs. #7 Virginia Tech
7 p.m. #1 North Carolina vs. #8 Miami
11 a.m. #2 Florida State vs. #6 Georgia Tech
3 p.m. #3 Virginia vs. #7 Virginia Tech
7 p.m. #4 Clemson vs. #5 N.C. State
11 a.m. #6 Georgia Tech vs. #7 Virginia Tech
3 p.m. #5 N.C. State vs. #8 Miami
7 p.m. #1 North Carolina vs. #4 Clemson
11 a.m. #2 Florida State vs. #3 Virginia
3 p.m. #4 Clemson vs. #8 Miami
7 p.m. #1 North Carolina vs. #5 N.C. State
1 p.m. Championship game
Just for fun, of course.