ACC Tournament Scenarios
FSU's defeat of Virginia tonight shed some light on the ACC Tournament scenarios involving North Carolina. Now that all the contenders have one game remaining, here's a look at what could happen. We know that Miami will be the 1 seed and Duke the 2 seed. Carolina, State and the Cavaliers are mixed in the 3-5 range.
Games remaining: Carolina hosts Duke on Saturday at 9. You may have heard about it. NC State goes to Florida State on Saturday at 2. Virginia hosts Maryland in the last game of the ACC regular season on Sunday at 6. The best news about Virginia's loss is that Sunday's games won't impact Carolina's seeding, so fans will know what time the Tar Heels play by the end of the day on Saturday (and possibly even earlier on Saturday).
UNC is 12-5
NC State is 11-6
Virginia is 10-7
If Carolina beats Duke, the Tar Heels are the 3 seed and will play Friday night around 9:30 against the winner of the 6-11 game. No other outcomes for the other teams matter.
If State loses to FSU, Carolina is the 3 seed and no other outcomes matter--even if Duke wins at the Smith Center. However, that will not make you feel any better on Saturday night around 11:30 p.m.
If Carolina loses to Duke, and State beats FSU, Carolina is the 4 seed (the tiebreaker would be wins against the highest-seeded ACC team, and in this scenario State would have a win over Duke and Carolina would not) and will play Friday around 2:30 p.m. against the winner of the 5-12 game. This is the only combination that could have the Tar Heels slotted anywhere other than the 3 seed.
So, the Tar Heels will know going into Saturday night's game whether they have to win to earn the 3 seed, because the Wolfpack and Seminoles will already be finished. It's possible that the Tar Heels could already be locked into Friday night before they ever take the floor at the Smith Center.
Here's a complete look at the seeding scenarios:
3. UNC/NC State
4. UNC/NC State/Virginia: The Pack can assure itself of a bye by winning at FSU on Saturday afternoon.
5. NC State/Virginia: The only way Virginia can move up to fourth is with an NC State loss to FSU, plus a Virginia win over Maryland on Sunday night.
6. Maryland/FSU: These two teams are tied at 8-9 in the league. If they finish tied (both lose this weekend or both win), FSU has the tiebreaker by virtue of the Seminoles' season sweep of the Terps.
7. Maryland/FSU: See above.
8. Winner of Georgia Tech/Boston College: These two teams made it easy. They play on Saturday at noon. Winner gets the 8 seed. Loser gets...something else.
9-11. Jumbled mess between Clemson, Wake, Virginia Tech and the loser of Georgia Tech-BC. Of these teams, Clemson probably has the toughest remaining assignment, as they go to an angry Miami on Saturday. There are too many tiebreaker combinations in play here to get deep into the details, but we'll update this again on Saturday afternoon when some matchups start to become more clear. If you think there are a lot of teams in this discussion that you don't care about and can't imagine watching play on a Thursday afternoon, just think about next year, when there will be two (at least) additional teams involved.
12. Virginia Tech/Wake Forest
A quick glance at possible first-round opponents for the Tar Heels: as of right now, the 6-11 game would be Maryland or FSU (the Seminoles have the head-to-head tiebreaker) against Wake Forest. The 5-12 game would be Virginia against Virginia Tech. So, as the 3 seed, the Tar Heels would be most likely to face the Terps or Seminoles on Friday, with the winner likely getting Duke in the semifinals. As the 4 seed, Carolina would likely face Virginia on Friday, with the winner tackling Miami on Saturday.