The final week of the regular season is upon us and UNC still has some work to do in terms of ACC Tournament seeding. Here are the most common scenarios UNC is facing for the league's postseason event.
#1, #2 and #3 seed
UNC has been eliminated from grabbing a seed higher than fourth. The Tar Heels are mathematically eliminated from catching either Virginia or Duke in terms of ACC record. There is a scenario that has UNC tied at 12-6 with Louisville and Notre Dame but the Tar Heels cannot get the #3 seed if that happens which will we explore below.
Scenario #1: UNC wins out, Louisville loses to Notre Dame and Virginia. UNC would finish 12-6 putting the Tar Heels a game ahead of the 11-7 Cardinals for 4th place.
Scenario #2: UNC wins out, Louisville beats Notre Dame but loses to Virginia. Both teams would be 12-6 and 1-1 in head-to-head. The tiebreaker goes to record against the team highest in the standings then working down. Both UNC and Louisville would be winless vs Virginia however UNC's 1-1 record vs Duke would trump Louisville's 0-1 mark vs the Blue Devils.
Scenario #3: UNC loses to Georgia Tech but beats Duke to finish 11-7. Louisville loses to Notre Dame and Virginia to also finish 11-7. UNC is the #4 seed thanks to a better record vs Duke.
Scenario #4: UNC beats Georgia Tech but loses to Duke finishing 11-7. Louisville loses to both Notre Dame and Virginia to also finish 11-7. Both teams would be winless against the top three in the ACC. If Syracuse or NC State finish sixth then UNC wins the tiebreaker having gong 1-0 vs the Orange to Louisville's 0-1 or 1-1 vs NC State to Louisville's 0-1.
Scenario #1: UNC wins out and Louisville wins out leaving the Tar Heels one game behind the Cardinals in 5th place.
Scenario #2: UNC goes 1-1 and Louisville goes 1-1 or wins out over the final two games. Louisville stays ahead of UNC and the Tar Heels finish in 5th.
Scenario #3: UNC wins out, Louisville beats Notre Dame who also loses to Clemson. Louisville then loses to Virginia. All three teams are 12-6. Record within the group serves as the tiebreaker. Louisville would be 2-1, Notre Dame 1-1 and UNC 1-2 making the Tar Heels the #5 seed, Notre Dame #4 and Louisville #3.
Scenario #4: UNC goes 0-2 while both Pitt and NC State lose at least once. UNC would finish 10-8 but stay ahead of Pitt who it lost the head-to-head against and NC State who owns a win over Duke giving them the tiebreaker versus UNC.
#6 or #7 seed
If UNC goes 0-2 and one or both of Pittsburgh and NC State win out the Tar Heels could drop to the #6 or even the #7 seed. A three way tie between these teams or a four way tie involving Syracuse has the Heels coming out behind both NC State and Pittsburgh who both have better records within the group. UNC also cannot win a head-to-head tiebreaker with either Pitt or NC State.
To simplify all of this, if UNC goes 1-1 this week the Tar Heels cannot drop below the #5 seed no matter what NC State or Pittsburgh do. That means taking care of business in Atlanta on Tuesday locks the Heels into the #4/#5 slots. From there UNC needs a win over Duke and a Louisville loss versus Virginia to get the #4 seed and a double-bye.
As always, the only thing UNC can control is the games it plays so beating Georgia Tech then Duke are the only concerns the Tar Heels should have this week. Do that and let the chips fall where they may.