While not an ideal way to send the seniors out at home, UNC’s loss to Miami on Tuesday did not affect its chances at the No. 2 seed in the ACC tournament.
If the Tar Heels (11-6 ACC) beat Duke (12-5) on Saturday, they will be the No. 2 seed in Brooklyn next week for the ACC tournament. With a win at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Saturday, UNC would hold all the tiebreakers over Duke, N.C. State and Clemson.
N.C. State (10-6) closes at Georgia Tech on Thursday and at home with Louisville on Saturday. Clemson (10-6) faces Florida State at home on Wednesday and goes to Syracuse on Saturday.
So how does the tiebreaker work?
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If only UNC and Duke finish 12-6, the Tar Heels would have a head-to-head sweep over the Blue Devils. Easy enough.
Winning percentage breaks the tie among the teams in the group. If State finishes 12-6 with UNC and Duke, UNC would have a 3-1 group record (2-0 vs. Duke and 1-1 vs. State). That, by winning percentage, would best State’s 2-1 group record (1-0 vs. Duke and 1-1 vs. UNC).
If Clemson finishes 12-6 with UNC and Duke, UNC would have the same 3-1 group record (1-1 vs. Clemson), while Duke would be 1-2 (1-0 vs. Clemson) and the Tigers would be 1-2.
If all four teams finish 12-6, UNC would again have the best group record (4-2), followed by N.C. State (3-2), Clemson (2-3) and Duke (1-3).
If UNC loses at Duke on Saturday, that’s where Tuesday’s loss could potentially cost the Heels a double-bye. If State wins out, it would be the No. 3 seed and UNC would be the No. 5 seed. The top four teams get a bye into Thursday's quarterfinals. The next five seeds have to play in the first round on Wednesday. The bottom six seeds have to start in Tuesday's play-in round.
At 11-7 in the ACC, UNC would be tied with the winner of Saturday’s game between Miami and Virginia Tech (who are both 10-7). The Canes and the Hokies, by virtue of head-to-head wins, have the tiebreaker over UNC.
UNC would be the No. 6 seed with two N.C. State wins and either two Clemson wins or one Clemson win and a Miami win.
If both State and Clemson lose out, UNC would still be the No. 4 seed (jumped by the Virginia Tech-Miami winner for the No. 3 seed).
UNC can’t finish lower than the No. 6 seed.