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2020 ACC Tournament Seeding Scenarios for UNC Basketball

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Carolina will play on Tuesday, but their seed is still up in the air

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: MAR 09 ACC Tournament - North Carolina v Miami Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

In the most #GoACC thing ever, a Clemson Tigers team that’s floating on the periphery of the NCAA Tournament had their tails handed to them by Virginia Tech on Wednesday. Why should you care?

Because it locked Carolina into the Tuesday round of the ACC Tournament.

It was a fun 24 hours for UNC fans, at least the ones who care about this stuff, after the announcement that Georgia Tech would drop their appeal of their 2020 postseason ban. That move changed ACC Tournament Tuesday to where now only the bottom four teams would have to win five games in five days. Thanks to their recent improved play, the Tar Heels mathematically had a chance to somehow avoid this, and their win over Wake Forrest improved their chances. Unfortunately, that ended the next night. You’ll see how it all works out below, but I’ll save you the drama and tell you that once the Hokies won, Carolina couldn’t get that bye.

Without further ado, while these scenarios were tweeted at me yesterday, let’s spell out all of the possible scenarios for the Tar Heels and their seeding.

The Games

On the final Saturday of the season, the games that you care about are:

Virginia Tech (7-12) @ Notre Dame (UNC is 0-1 vs VT) - Sat 2 PM

BC (7-12) @ FSU (UNC is 0-1 vs BC) - Sat 4:30 PM

Miami (6-13) vs. Syracuse (UNC is 1-0 vs. Miami) - Sat 4:00 PM

Wake Forest (6-13) @ NCSU (UNC is 1-1 vs. Wake) - Fri 7 PM (update, Wake lost)

UNC (6-13) @ Duke - Sat 6:00 PM

Pitt is done with their regular season, finishing at 6-14. Ties when it’s two teams are broken by head to head, then if that’s tied, you start at the top of the standings and compare records. The tie is broken when one team does better against the highest seeded team possible. When it’s more than two teams tied, they break the teams off into the MINI CONFERENCE! Your records against each other are compared, ranked by win percentage, and any ties left are determined by head to head or another MINI CONFERENCE as necessary.

The 11/14 game will be at 7 PM on Tuesday and in line to play the eventual 6 seed, the winner of which would then play the 3 seed.

The 12/13 game will be played at 4:30 PM on Tuesday, and in line to play the eventual 5 seed for the right to play the 4 seed.

Got it? Let’s go.

Scenarios and Carolina’s Seed:

3/6 Update: With Wake Forrest’s loss, as you’ll see, Carolina is now locked into the 11/14 game in one form or fashion. For your planning purposes, you know Carolina will play Tuesday at 7 PM.

Since Wake and State play tonight, this will be updated by Saturday based on what Wake does, in case your first read is on Saturday and you see some struckthrough text like this. This will be written from the perspective of the lower-ranked team; so “Everyone wins” means that all the teams bolded in the above matchups win.

In case you don’t want to read the math or see the bottom four matchups, at the end of the article, Akil has you covered. He made a handy spreadsheet that lists all the results and what Carolina’s seed would be. If you want to see the detailed breakdown as to how each result leads to a particular seed for the Heels, well, here we go:

  • Everyone wins

In this case, Pitt is the 14 seed at 6-13. Carolina, Wake, and Miami are all tied at 7-12 battling for seeds 11-13. UNC is 2-1 in this mini conference, Miami is 2-1, and Wake is 1-2. Wake gets seed 13 due to the record, then Miami gets 12 because Carolina won their head to head.

Result: 11 UNC vs. 14 Pitt, 12 Miami vs 13 Wake.

  • VT loses, everyone else wins

Again, Pitt is the 14 seed. UNC, Miami, Wake, and VT are all 7-13. MINI CONFERENCE! UNC is 2-2, Miami is 2-2, Wake is 1-3, VT is 2-2. Wake is your 13 seed. Another MINI CONFERENCE! UNC is 1-1, Miami is 2-1, VT is 1-2. Miami gets the 10 and the bye, UNC gets the 11, VT gets the 12.

Result: 11 UNC vs. 14 Pitt, 12 VT vs. 13 Wake

  • BC loses, Everyone else wins

Pitt is the 14, and it’s UNC, BC, Miami, and Wake all at 7-13. UNC is 2-2, BC is 2-2, Miami is 2-1, Wake is 2-3. Wake gets 13, Miami gets 10 and the bye. BC gets the head to head over once and gets 11, UNC slides to 12.

Result: 11 BC vs. 14 Pitt, 12 UNC vs 13 Wake

  • VT and BC lose, the others win

Pitt is the 14, now UNC, Miami, Wake, VT, and BC are all 7-13. UNC is 2-3, Miami is 4-1, Wake is 2-4, VT is 2-4, BC is 4-2. Miami gets 9, BC gets 10 and both get the bye. UNC gets 11 because their winning percentage is better, VT gets 12 and Wake gets 13 because VT is 1-0 against Wake.

Result: 11 UNC vs 14 Pitt, 12 VT vs. 13 Wake

  • Wake Forest and UNC win, the others lose

Pitt and Miami are 6-14, Pitt is 14 and Miami is 13 because of Miami’s win. UNC, Wake, VT, and BC are tied at 7-13. UNC is 1-3, Wake is 2-3, VT is 2-2, BC is 4-1. BC gets 9 and VT gets 10 to miss Tuesday, Wake gets 11, UNC gets 12.

Result: 11 Wake vs. 14 Pitt, 12 UNC vs. 13 Miami

  • UNC and Miami win, the others lose

Pitt and Wake are 6-14, Wake has the head to head so Pitt is 14, and Wake is 13. UNC, Miami, VT, and BC are tied at 7-3. UNC is 1-2, Miami is 3-1, BC is 3-1, VT is 1-4. VT gets 12, UNC gets 11 based on winning percentage, and Miami has the head to head over BC so they get the 9 and BC gets 10.

Result: 11 UNC vs. 14 Pitt, 12 VT vs. 13 Wake

  • Everyone loses but UNC

Pitt, Miami, and Wake are 6-14. UNC, VT, and BC are 7-13. As far as UNC is concerned, in their battle they are 0-2, VT is 1-2, BC is 3-0. BC gets 9 and VT gets 10, getting the bye. Carolina gets 11. Pitt is 1-2, Miami is 2-1, Wake is 1-1. Pitt is 14, Wake is 13, Miami is 12.

Result: 11 UNC vs. 14 Pitt, 12 Miami vs 13 Wake

  • Everybody wins but Miami

BC is 2-0 vs VT so they’ll get 9, VT gets 10. Miami is tied with Pitt at 6-14, and they are 1-1 against each other. The tiebreaker will go to their record against the top of the conference until someone has a better record (I’m not figuring that out, sorry). Wake and UNC are tied at 7-13, and both are 1-1 against each other. Same issue, as they go to the top until someone has a better record against a top team. So, chop off the top four teams because the only win either team has against that group is Duke, and both are 1-1. Carolina is 1-0 against Syracuse whereas Wake is 0-1, both are 0-1 against GT, Carolina is 2-0 against NC State whereas Wake would be 1-1 in the case, both are 1-1 against Notre Dame, and Carolina is 0-1 versus Clemson whereas Wake is 1-1. So, If Syracuse or State finish higher, Carolina gets 11. If Clemson finishes higher, Wake gets 11.

Result: Look for who finishes the highest of Clemson, State, and Syracuse, Carolina is either 11 or 12. This will be figured out right around tipoff as UNC/Duke is the last ACC game of the day.

  • Everybody wins but Wake Forest

This one is much easier. BC is 9, VT is 10. Wake is tied with Pitt at 6-14, but gets 13 because of the head to head. Carolina and Miami are 7-13, but Carolina has the head to head, so they get 11, Miami gets 12.

Result: 11 UNC vs 14 Pitt, 12 Miami vs 13 Wake

  • Wake Forest and Miami lose, the others win

BC is 9, VT is 10. UNC is the only team 7-13 and they get 11. Pitt, Miami, and Wake are all 6-14. Pitt is 1-2, Wake is 1-1, Miami is 2-1. Pitt is 14, Wake is 13, Miami is 12.

Result: 11 UNC vs 14 Pitt, 12 Mimai vs 13 Wake

  • Miami and UNC lose, the others win

Wake gets 11 as the only 7-13 team, UNC, Miami, and Pitt are at 6-14. UNC is 1-2, Miami is 2-1, Pitt is 3-1. In case you were wondering why I kept including Pitt, this is why UNC is 14, Miami is 13, and Pitt climbs to 12

Result: 11 Wake vs. 14 UNC, 12 Pitt vs 13 Miami

  • Wake Forest and UNC lose, the others win

Miami gets 11 as the only 7-13 team, Wake, UNC, and Pitt are tied at 6-14. UNC is 1-3, Wake is 2-0, Pitt is 2-1. Wake gets 12, Pitt gets 13, UNC finishes 14

Result: 11 Miami vs. 14 UNC, 12 Wake vs 13 Pitt

  • Virginia Tech and Wake Forest win, the others lose

VT climbs to 9, BC and Wake are tied at 7-13, and both are 1-1 against each other so they’ll go to the upper tiebreakers to figure out who’s 10, but frankly we don’t care. UNC, Miami, and Pitt are tied at 6-13. UNC is 1-2, Miami is 1-2, Pitt is 3-1. Pitt slides up to 12, UNC gets 13 because of the head to head win

Result: 11 Wake/BC vs 14 Miami, 12 Pitt vs. 13 UNC

  • Virginia Tech and Miami win, the others lose

VT is 9, BC and Miami are tied for 10 at 7-13, and Miami gets the tiebreaker to finish 10th, BC falls to 11. Wake, UNC, and Pitt are tied at 6-14. UNC is 1-3, Wake is 2-1, Pitt is 2-1, UNC is 14, and Wake has the head to head and grabs 12.

Result: 11 BC vs. 14 UNC, 12 Wake vs 13 Pitt

  • Boston College and Wake Forest win, the others lose,

BC gets 9, VT and Wake are tied at 7-13 and Tech gets 10 because of their head to head. UNC, Miami, and BC are tied at 6-14. UNC is 1-2, Miami is 1-2, Pitt is 3-1. Pitt slides up to 12, UNC gets 13 because of the head to head win.

Result: 11 Wake vs 14 Miami, 12 Pitt vs 13 UNC

  • Boston College and Miami win, the others lose

BC gets 9, VT and Miami are tied at 7-13, and Miami gets the 10 because the are 2-0 against VT. Wake, UNC, and Pitt are tied at 6-14. UNC is 1-3, Wake is 2-1, Pitt is 2-1, UNC is 14, and Wake has the head to head and grabs 12.

Result: 11: VT vs. 14 UNC, 12 Wake vs 13 Pitt

  • Wake Forest, Miami, and UNC all lose

In this situation it doesn’t matter what BC and VT does because they already have 7 wins and they’ll figure out who's 9 and 10. UNC, Wake, Miami, and Pitt are all 6-14. UNC is 2-3, Wake is 2-2, Miami is 2-2, Pitt is 3-2. Pitt gets 11, UNC gets 14. Miami beat Wake, so they get 12, and Wake settles at 13.

Result: 11 Pitt vs 14 UNC, 12 Miami vs 13 Wake

Got all that? Good, because my brain has basically melted. As promised, if you wanted to see it in spreadsheet form, or if you skipped down here because you didn’t want to see it all play out, here’s the spreadsheet that Akil made to spell it out:

Updated with Wake’s loss, Carolina is now locked into the 7 PM 11/14 Game

Now. who’s ready to go and beat Duke tomorrow?