Monday, March 2, 2009

Sorting out the ACC tiebreakers

The bottom two spots for next week's ACC Tournament are set. Virginia (3-11) is locked into the 11th seed and Georgia Tech (1-13) is No. 12.

The rest of the conference bracket is wide open.

UNC (11-3) has a one-game lead over Duke (10-4) and those teams meet on Sunday in Chapel Hill. If UNC wins out (it also plays at Virginia Tech on Wednesday) the Heels take the No. 1 seed for the third straight year.

If Duke wins in Chapel Hill on Sunday (and the Devils owe Tyler Hansbrough a Senior Night spoiler, no?) and finished tied with UNC, the Devils would be the No. 1 seed — if Wake Forest remains in front of Clemson in the ACC standings.

The first tiebreaker is head-to-head or "group" record (if more than two teams are tied). A Duke win Sunday would give them a split with UNC.

The second tiebreaker is "best" win. To review the "best" win procedure, you start at the top of the ACC standings and work down. If Team A has a win over the first place team and Team B doesn't, Team A gets the better seed. You keep working through the conference standings until a "best" win is determined. (Note overall record is not factored into the tiebreaker procedure.)

If Wake (9-5) remains in third place, under the ACC tiebreaker of "best" win, Duke's win over Wake Forest (on Feb. 22) would give the Blue Devils the No. 1 seed for the first time since 2006.

If Clemson passes Wake, UNC's win over Clemson (Jan. 21) would stand as the tiebreaker because Duke lost to Clemson (Feb. 4).

Wake could still finish first or second. It would hold a head-to-head tiebreaker over UNC, which would have to lose out, and a three-way tiebreaker with UNC and Duke, for first place.

That would happen if Wake finishes tied with Duke, and Duke loses to UNC. Wake split with Duke and beat UNC in its only meeting (Jan. 11).

Either way, Wake's in good shape for third place and the important first-round bye (no team has ever won four games at the ACC Tournament). The Deacs own the tiebreaker over Florida State (beat them on Feb. 14 in their only meeting) and won the first matchup with Clemson (Jan. 17). Wake and Clemson meet on Sunday in Winston-Salem.

Florida State (9-5) has a one-game lead on Clemson (8-6) — and the tiebreaker — for the final first-round bye and the No. 4 seed.

Boston College (8-6) could still catch FSU for the No. 4 seed. The Eagles have two winnable games (at N.C. State on Wednesday and Georgia Tech at home on Saturday) plus the tiebreaker over FSU (beat them on Feb. 24 in their only meeting). However, BC does not have the tiebreaker over Clemson.

The best N.C. State (5-9) can finish is ninth. With losses to Maryland and Virginia Tech, both 7-7, they can't pass either team in the final week.

The Wolfpack could finish in front of Miami (6-8), who they beat on Jan. 27 and play on Saturday, if they finished with the same ACC record (and lost on Saturday), depending on how the top of the standings work out.

-- J.P. Giglio


Anonymous said...

The next game is important for UNC and Duke. Duke loses, UNC wins then UNC is #1 seed. Any other scenario leads to an important UNC/ Duke game.

Anonymous said...

Go 'Noles!

Anonymous said...

What happens if Clemson beats Wake on Sunday and those two teams are tied at 10-6 (and 1-1 against each other). How do you determine who is 3rd to determine who is 1st?

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