ACC Tournament seeding: Tiebreakers for No. 1 seed, double-byes and more
ACC Tournament seeding has nearly been finalized. The ACC will wrap up its regular season on Saturday with 14 teams set to play their final game before the ACC Tournament.
Miami, Virginia and Pittsburgh enter the final weekend of the season in a tie for 1st place at the top of the league. Duke and Clemson are just 1 game off the pace. However, Miami and Pitt play each other in the final game of the regular season, so the Blue Devils and Tigers can not earn a share of 1st place.
There’s still a lot to be decided with regards to seeding for the tournament and what the bracket will ultimately look like.
Here’s a breakdown of some of the key races ahead of Saturday:
The chase for the No. 1 seed
Pittsburgh’s loss to Notre Dame in the mid-week sets up a must-win game for the Panthers against Miami. If Pitt wins that game, it will clinch at least share of the ACC regular season title and would be the No. 1 seed in the ACC Tournament. However, a loss would push the Panthers anywhere from the No. 2 seed to the No. 5 seed depending on results from across the conference.
Miami also just needs a win to (at least) tie for 1st place in the regular season standings and would be the No. 1 seed. With a loss, the Canes could fall as far as No. 4 in the ACC Tournament bracket. Miami has already clinched a coveted double-bye.
Virginia is the other team who is vying for a share of the ACC regular season title. The Cavaliers finish the year at home against Louisville and will be heavy favorites to win that game. If they do, they’ll be locked into the No. 2 seed in the ACC Tournament. However, Virginia lost to both Pitt and Miami earlier this season so it can not earn the No. 1 seed. On the bright side, the Cavaliers defeated both Duke and Clemson so it can not fall beyond 4th in the ACC standings.
4-way tie for 2nd place?
There is a chance that 4 teams tie for 2nd place in the ACC regular season standings. One of Miami or Pitt is guaranteed to end the season at 15-5 and earn at least a share of the regular season title.
But the other 3 teams who round out the top 5 could end up at 14-6 on the year alongside the loser of Pitt-Miami. For Virginia, that would require losing to Louisville. Duke and Clemson would each clinch a 14-6 record in ACC play with a win on Saturday.
Per ACC bylaws, multi-team tiebreakers will be decided by the combined record of the tied teams vs. each other. Here are the relevant records for each of the 5 teams who could be tied with each other after Saturday:
- Pitt: (1-2)
- Miami: (3-1)
- Duke: (1-3 if tied with Virginia, Clemson and Miami; 1-2 if tied with Virginia, Clemson and Pitt)
- Clemson: (2-1 if tied with Pitt, Duke and Virginia; 1-2 if tied with Miami, Duke and Virginia)
- Virginia: (2-1 if tied with Pitt, Duke and Clemson; 2-1 if tied with Miami, Duke and Clemson)
If Virginia beats Louisville, it would lock in the No. 2 seed. However, the loser of Pitt-Miami could still be tied with Duke and/or Clemson for the No. 3 seed. Here’s what that tiebreaker would look like without the Cavs:
- Pitt: (0-2)
- Miami: (2-1)
- Duke: (1-1 if tied with Clemson and Pitt; 1-2 if tied with Clemson and Miami)
- Clemson (2-0 if tied with Pitt and Duke; 1-1 if tied with Miami and Duke)
The race for a double-bye
Miami and Virginia have already locked up 2 of the double-byes. Pittsburgh, Duke and Clemson are the other teams fighting for those last 2 spots.
Clemson’s path to a double-bye is the most straight-forward: If the Tigers beat Notre Dame on Saturday, they will be a top-4 seed. Clemson would also end up as the No. 4 seed with a loss if Duke also loses. The 2 teams are currently tied in the standings, but Clemson would win head-to-head and multi-team tiebreakers vs. the Blue Devils. Clemson losing and Duke winning would push the Tigers to the No. 5 seed.
There’s only 1 scenario where Pittsburgh falls out of the top 4 seeds. The Panthers would 1st need to lose to Miami. If Virginia, Clemson and Duke also all win, Pitt would slip to the No. 5 seed. That’s because Pitt would have a worse record than Virginia and went 0-2 this season against Duke and Clemson. However, Pitt would earn a double-bye if any other scenario plays out on Saturday.
Duke has to win in Chapel Hill on Saturday to avoid falling to the No. 5 seed — but it also needs additional help to rise into the top 4. For simplicities’ sake, let’s assume Virginia beats Louisville at home on Saturday. If that does indeed happen, the Blue Devils would need Pitt or Clemson to lose in order to earn a double-bye. A Clemson loss (plus wins from Duke and Virginia) would propel the Blue Devils to the No. 3 seed.
Elsewhere in the ACC
Only the bottom 6 seeds in the ACC will play in the 1st round of the tournament. Five of those teams are already known: Louisville, Notre Dame, Georgia Tech, Florida State and Virginia Tech.
The 6th and final team to feature on Day 1 of the ACC Tournament will be Syracuse or Boston College. Those teams enter Saturday with the same ACC record, but the Orange have the edge because they swept both games against the Eagles in 2022-23. Syracuse clinches a 1st round bye with a win over Wake Forest on Saturday or with a Boston College loss to Georgia Tech.
NC State is the only team who will not be in action on Saturday as it has already wrapped its regular season slate. The Wolfpack will be either the No. 6 or No. 7 seed, pending Saturday’s results. Rival North Carolina could be the No. 6, No. 7 or No. 8 depending on what happens this weekend.
Only 3 teams (No. 13 Georgia Tech, No. 14 Notre Dame and No. 15 Louisville) have already locked in their seed for the ACC Tournament.
The ACC Tournament begins on Tuesday, March 7.