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Tar Heels can make ACC tournament seeding easy or it could get messy

Senior guard Joel Berry (2) and North Carolina can wrap up the No. 2 seed in the ACC tournament with wins over Miami and Duke this week.
Senior guard Joel Berry (2) and North Carolina can wrap up the No. 2 seed in the ACC tournament with wins over Miami and Duke this week.

North Carolina can simplify the tiebreaker scenarios for the ACC tournament.

Easy enough, if UNC (11-5 ACC) beats Miami on Tuesday and Duke on Saturday, the Tar Heels will be the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament in Brooklyn next week.

The top four seeds receive a double-bye. The Tar Heels can clinch a double-bye with a win over Miami (9-7) on Tuesday at the Smith Center. Virginia (15-1) has already clinched the No. 1 seed. Duke (12-4) would be the No. 2 seed if it wins out and can clinch a double-bye with a win at Virginia Tech on Monday.

There’s a still a chance UNC could get knocked out of one of the top four seeds and start tournament play next Wednesday. If the Tar Heels lose out, combined with N.C. State (10-6) and Clemson (10-6) winning out, they would fall out of the top four.

The tournament tiebreakers can get tricky since not all teams play each other twice. Head-to-head results and “group” record can solve most tiebreakers. The ACC uses winning percentage to determine the best “group” record.

If two teams split the regular-season meetings, they are then compared based on their results against the other ACC teams, starting at the top of the conference standings and, again, with winning percentage as the difference.

How a few tournament-seeding scenarios would work out:

Both Duke and UNC finish 13-5

How it can happen: UNC wins out (vs. Miami on Tuesday, at Duke on Saturday); Duke beats Virginia Tech (on Monday).

Tiebreaker: UNC would be 2-0 against Duke. UNC would be the No. 2 seed. Duke would be the No. 3 seed.

Only Duke and UNC finish 12-6

How it can happen: Duke loses out; UNC loses to Miami beats Duke; N.C. State (at Georgia Tech on Thursday, vs. Louisville on Saturday) and Clemson (vs. Florida State on Wednesday, at Syracuse on Saturday) each lose one of their final two games.

Tiebreaker: UNC would be 2-0 against Duke. UNC would be the No. 2 seed. Duke would be the No. 3 seed.

Only Duke, UNC and N.C. State finish 12-6

How it can happen: Duke loses out; UNC loses to Miami; N.C. State wins out; Clemson loses one game.

Tiebreaker: UNC would have a 3-1 group record (2-0 vs. Duke, 1-1 vs. State), which would be better than the Wolfpack’s 2-1 group record, based on winning percentage. UNC would be the No. 2 seed and then N.C. State would have the tiebreaker over Duke (based on the head-to-head win) for the No. 3 seed. Duke would be the No. 4 seed.

Only UNC, N.C. State and Clemson finish 12-6

How it can happen: UNC beats Miami, loses at Duke; N.C. State and Clemson win out.

Tiebreaker: They each would have a 2-2 group record. None of the three teams would have a win over Virginia (the No. 1 seed), so Duke (the No. 2 seed) would be used as the tiebreaker.

N.C. State, based on a 1-0 record vs. Duke, would be the No. 3 seed. UNC, 1-1 vs. Duke, would be the No. 4 seed and Clemson, 0-1 vs. Duke, would be the No. 5 seed.

Duke, UNC, N.C. State and Clemson all finish 12-6

How it can happen: Duke loses out; UNC loses to Miami; N.C. State wins out; Clemson wins out.

Tiebreaker: UNC would have the best group record 4-2 and finish as the No. 2 seed. N.C. State (3-2 group record) would be No. 3, Clemson (2-3 group record) would be No. 4 and Duke would be No. 5 (1-3).

Joe Giglio: 919-829-8938, @jwgiglio

Jockeying for ACC tournament position

These regular-season results will go a long way in determining the seeding for the ACC tournament in Brooklyn next week:

Duke

at UNC, L, 82-78 (Feb. 8)

at N.C. State, L, 96-85 (Jan. 6)

at Clemson, W, 66-57 (Feb. 18)

UNC

vs. Duke, W, 82-78 (Feb. 8)

vs. N.C. State, L, 95-91 (Jan. 27)

at N.C. State, W, 96-89 (Feb. 10)

vs. Clemson, W, 87-79 (Jan. 16)

at Clemson, L, 82-78 (Jan. 30)

N.C. State

vs. Duke, W, 96-85 (Jan. 6)

at UNC, W, 95-91 (Jan. 27)

vs. UNC, L, 96-89 (Feb. 10)

at Clemson, L, 78-62 (Dec. 30)

vs. Clemson, W, 78-77 (Jan. 11)

Clemson

vs. Duke, L, 66-57 (Feb. 18)

at UNC, L, 87-79 (Jan. 16)

vs. UNC, W, 82-78 (Jan. 30)

vs. N.C. State, W, 78-62 (Dec. 30)

at N.C. State, L, 78-77 (Jan. 11)

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