UNC Basketball: ACC Tournament clinching scenarios

CHAPEL HILL, NC - FEBRUARY 08: Kenny Williams
CHAPEL HILL, NC - FEBRUARY 08: Kenny Williams /

UNC has the chance to earn a double bye in the ACC Tournament on Saturday. Here are their clinching scenarios

Saturday brings us the rematch of North Carolina and Duke but this time in Durham. The Tar Heels won the first matchup back in February, erasing a 12-point deficit and dominated the second half.

UNC was able to rally off six-straight wins before losing on a buzzer-beater to Miami on Tuesday night. The Tar Heels missed a golden chance to lock up a double-bye and move into second place in the ACC.

Duke is also coming off a road loss to Virginia Tech, ending a win-streak of their own.

Following the loss to Miami, UNC’s chances for a double-bye took a hit. They can still get one but the scenarios are a little complicated if the Tar Heels can’t get a win over Duke.

Here’s seeding scenarios for UNC going into the Duke game.

No. 2 seed

This one is simple. Win.

That’s it. That’s all UNC has to do to get the No. 2 seed in next week’s ACC Tournament in Brooklyn. A win would also give UNC a regular season sweep over Duke and would help their seeding for the NCAA Tournament.

If UNC doesn’t win on Saturday, things get complicated.

No. 3 seed

The Tar Heels cannot get the No. 3 seed.

No. 4 seed

UNC can still earn a double-bye even with a loss at Duke but it will need some things to happen.

If UNC loses at Duke, they clinch the No. 4 seed like this:

  • Louisville beats NC State
  • Syracuse beats Clemson
  • Virginia Tech beats Miami

No. 5 seed

A loss could also mean UNC falls out of a double-bye and drops them to the No. 5 seed, meaning they start the tournament on Wednesday rather than Thursday.

There are two ways UNC can get the No. 5 seed with a loss at Duke:

  • Louisville beats NC State
  • Syracuse beats Clemson
  • Miami beats Virginia Tech

Option No. 2:

  • NC State beats Louisville
  • Syracuse beats Clemson
  • Virginia Tech beats Miami

No. 6 seed

This is as far as the Tar Heels can fall. It would also mean they would start their tournament on Wednesday, playing an extra game.

Like the No. 5 seed, if UNC loses to Duke on Saturday there are two ways they get the No. 6 seed:

  • NC State beats Louisville
  • Clemson beats Syracuse


  • NC state beats Louisville
  • Syracuse beats Clemson
  • Miami beats Virginia Tech

That’s the absolute worst case scenario for the Tar Heels and it would be a big disappoint for the team after winning six-straight.

If this happens, we will look back at Tuesday’s loss to Miami as the one that really hurt their chances at a double-bye.

Of course, all UNC needs is a win on Saturday and it would be extra sweet to sweep Duke in the regular season and head into the ACC Tournament with some momentum.

Next: UNC vs. Duke: Preview, broadcast info & more

Check back with Keeping It Heel for complete postgame coverage of Saturday’s game in Durham against Duke.