UNC heads into the final game of the season in control of its own destiny in terms of finishing with at least a share of first place and being the #1 seed in the ACC Tournament.
The always excellent Patrick Stevens has crunched out the ACC Tournament scenarios. Here is what's relevant to UNC's seeding.
-UNC wins vs Duke.
With a win UNC can finish no worse than tied for first with Miami who the Tar Heels beat in the only meeting between the teams. That would afford UNC the #1 seed. For UNC to claim first place outright a Miami loss to Virginia Tech would be necessary.
-UNC loses to Duke, Miami wins and Virginia loses.
UNC finishes in second behind Miami.
-UNC loses to Duke, Miami loses and Virginia wins.
Creates a three way tie at 13-5 with UNC, Miami and Virginia. Virginia went 2-1 vs the group giving the Cavaliers the #1 seed. UNC went 1-1 which beats Miami's 1-2 plus UNC won the head-to-head.
-UNC loses to Duke, Miami and Virginia both lose.
For the purposes of tiebreakers, Louisville is included despite a postseason ban. In the event UNC, Miami and Virgina lose it would create a three way tie at 13-5 with UNC, Miami and Louisville. The three way tiebreaker would be even(everyone went 1-1 vs the group) which means best record versus whoever is next in the standings. That would be Duke and Virginia with UNC not recording a win in three tries against those two teams while Miami went 2-1. Miami would be the #1 seed, UNC #2, Duke at #3 and Virginia #4.
-UNC loses to Duke, Miami and Virginia both win.
Miami would win the ACC outright and get the #1 seed. UNC and Virginia would be tied for second at 13-5 with Virginia winning the tiebreaker via the head-to-head result.
Obviously UNC can save itself a lot of trouble and beat Duke on Saturday. Winning that game actually carries much bigger implications than just seeding for the ACC Tournament. UNC is in close competition with Miami and Virginia for a spot in the Raleigh pod of the NCAA Tournament. At this point two of those three teams are going to Raleigh and presently UNC's resume is the weaker of the three. UNC is 3-5(3-1 home, 0-4 road) versus the RPI top 50 while Miami is 9-2(6-0 home, 1-2 road, 2-0 neutral) and Virginia is 8-2(5-0 home, 2-2 road, 1-0 neutral).
The case could be made for both ahead of UNC in NCAA seeding which means the Tar Heels have some work to do. That starts Saturday night in Durham where UNC also needs to beat Duke for the sake of stopping the bleeding in the rivalry. UNC has lost four straight to the Blue Devils and while the Tar Heels are in almost every game between these two teams, getting on the positive side of an outcome has been difficult.
In that respect the only scenario that matters is the one that says just win baby.