With a solid dismantling of VCU tonight, the Hoos can now focus on their last ACC series of the regular season before heading to Durham for the conference tournament. Usually at this point in the year most things are pretty much in place for the ACC, this year there is a ton of things to work out this weekend. But while watching #6 UVa and #2 UNC will be at the top of the viewing schedule, almost every other conference tilt is important for seedings. Even more interesting is every team minus Boston College has a mathematical chance of making the final 8. So where do we factor into it?
For those who are now getting into the baseball season, here is how the ACC Tournament works. The top 8 teams with the best ACC records after the bevy of tiebreakers (mainly head to head) go to Durham. They are broken into two pools with Pool A being the 1,4,5,8 seeds and Pool B being 2,3,6,7. The team with the overall best record is the 1st seed, and the team who won the other division, regardless of record, is the 2nd seed. The 3rd through 8th seeds are straight forward record and head to head. If it ended today, here is how it would look
#1 UNC (20-5)
#4 Clemson (17-10)
#5 NC State (16-10)
#8 Miami (12-15)
#2 FSU* (18-9)
#3 UVa (20-7)
#6 Georgia Tech (14-13)
#7 VT (13-14)
Wake Forest (9-18)
As you can see a lot to be worked out this weekend.
Where will Virginia land?
Surprisingly enough, Virginia can either place 3rd or 1st depending on their series with UNC. The simple line is a sweep of the Tar Heels and UVa is the top seed. Anything less and they will be the 3rd seed. FSU cannot win the league as they are 2.5 behind UNC, and a UNC losses would be at UVa’s gain. Virginia can also not fall past 3rd, as Clemson and FSU play this weekend and any combination plus the Cavs series wins over both would put them behind UVa.
So what about the rest of the ACC?
· Miami can eliminate Wake, Maryland, and Duke’s season with one win against GT at home. Since that looks unlikely that they could lose 3 at home, I won’t get into the permutations that those 3 can get in as it is so remote.
· There is still a battle for the Atlantic with FSU, Clemson, and NCSU within a game and a half of each other. The winner will be the 2nd seed, with the other two 4th and 5th seeds.
· The only exception to the 5th seed is NCSU getting swept by Duke and GT sweeping Miami. And if that happens, see bullet point #1.
· GT, VT, and Miami still have to work out 6th through 8th as 2 games separate those three in the Coastal.
What will be best situation for the Hoos?
Virginia would like to hold off playing UNC and the top 3 in the Atlantic for as long as possible. Unless there is utter chaos, sitting in the 3rd spot will allow them to miss UNC, and 2 of those other teams. Ironicly, they went 8-1 against FSU, Clemson, and NCSU, but that was eons ago. Still, while we will miss the hot teams, Virginia lost series to VT and GT this year, two teams they are likely to face the first 2 games of the tournament. So it is really pick your poison. As the 3 seed, you would play the Pool B games in this order: 6 seed, 7 seed, 2 seed. Seeing the order of GT, VT, and FSU would be the a solid way to navigate the ACC tourney with keeping the Waddell, Silverstein, Howard rotation intact.
Of course all of this is speculation, and depends on WAY too many factors. As far as the national picture is concerned, UVa needs to avoid the sweep on the road to UNC. It will keep them in the NCAA seed picture and gives them confidence that they can take down the Heels in a one game series if needed. Be sure to watch all the action on TV this weekend and we will have our ACC Tournament preview next week.