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Working Through the Tiebreakers

With one day to go in the ACC season,, here's how the tournament seeding stands:

(Clemson and Florida State will play on Thursday no matter the outcome of today's Clemson-Virginia Tech game. Only the seeding of the two teams is in question.)

There are three games being played today: Clemson (7-8) at Virginia Tech (10-5), Boston College (10-5) at Georgia Tech (7-8) and Duke (8-7) at UNC (10-5). Here, according to the ACC tiebreaker procedures, is how the chips can fall:

All the favorites win. Four teams are tied for the top slot at 10-5. Virgina Tech, 4-2 against BC, UNC, and UVa, is the top seed while Virginia, 1-3 against the same, is fourth. UNC and Boston College are both 2-2 against the Top 4; by virtue of the Heels win over BC they are the second seed while the Eagles fall to third. Maryland, of course, is fifth.

Clemson upsets Virginia Tech. Assuming the other favorites win out, there's a three-way tie for first. North Carolina, with wins over BC and UVa, is the number one seed. The Eagles, with a win over Virginia take the second spot, UVa the third, Virginia Tech the fourth, and Maryland the fifth.

Georgia Tech knocks off BC. Again if everyone wins out, Virginia Tech, with a 3-1 record agaisnt UNC and UVa, takes the top seed. Carolina gets the second slot because they beat Virginia. BC beat Maryland (way back in December) so they're the fourth seed and the Terps the fifth.

Duke beats UNC. The gates of hell open up and all is lost. And if no one else loses unexpectedly, Boston College, by virtue of a 2-1 record agaist the Virginia schools is number one. The Hokies, having split games with both BC and UVa is second, and Virginia brings up the rear in third. The Tar Heels, having lost their only matchup to Maryland are fifth to the Terrapins fourth.

Virginia Tech and Boston College both stumble. First place is a tie between UNC and UVa, with the advantage going to the Heels. Maryland is fifth, having failed to beat the Eagles or the Hokies. Those two teams, with equal records against each other and Maryland, duke it out for third based on their record against the Tar Heels - Virginia Tech is third, BC fourth.

Virginia Tech and UNC both fall short. Boston College, having beat Virginia, is number one. Virginia Tech never lost to UNC or Maryland, and thus takes third. Maryland is fourth and the Heels fifth.

Boston College and the Tar Heels both lose. Things get really complicated. Virginia and Virginia Tech are teid for the lead but split their season matchups, so we'll put them aside. BC, UNC, and Maryland all tie a game back, and since the Heels beat both the Eagles and the Terps, they take third (BC is fourth, as they beat Maryland). UNC is now the tiebreaker between the two Virginia schools,, and as the Hokies won twice against the Heels, they're the number one seed.

Upsets all around. Virginia, as the lone 11-5 team, is the regular season champions. In the four-way tie for runner-up, Virginia Tech, 4-1 versus the also-rans, is the second seed. BC (2-2) is third, Maryland (1-2) is fourth, and UNC brings up the rear in fifth.

So what does this mean for UNC? By the time they take the court Virginia Tech will have played Clemson - if the Hokies win, UNC cannot take the number one seed. As long as the Tar Heels beat Duke, they're guaranteed at least the number two slot. Should they lose, they're almost certain to be fifth, unless Boston College loses and Virginia Tech wins.

No team is fully in charge of their own destiny. Isn't the ACC fun?