What the UNC basketball program needs to do to clinch the ACC Regular Season Title

What do Hubert Davis and the UNC basketball program need to do to be crowned at least a share of the 2023-2024 ACC regular season title?
Feb 26, 2024; Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels head coach Hubert Davis
Feb 26, 2024; Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels head coach Hubert Davis / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

It's that time of the year again.

The UNC basketball program has put itself in a position for at least a share of the ACC regular season title for the 2023-2024 season. It matters more in terms of the upcoming ACC Tournament, as a tie-breaker could ultimately determine the No. 1 seed.

Here are some of the different scenarios that could happen and how it affects North Carolina.

The Most Simple (but difficult at the same time) Scenario

The Tar Heels would clinch at least that aforementioned share of the ACC title with a win over Notre Dame on Tuesday night.

If they defeat Duke on Saturday, the regular season title is simply theirs for the taking.

Of course, wins don't always come easy in the ACC, especially while visiting your biggest rival, but this is the situation that is simply in the Tar Heels' control.

I get by with a little help from... my friends (enemies)?

Isn't it ironic that Kevin Keatts and NC State could actually help the Tar Heels out?

If the Wolfpack could somehow defeat the Blue Devils on Monday night, all North Carolina would have to do is win one of the last two games to clinch sole possession of the regular season crown.

I guess if you're looking at it from a rivalry perspective, in this case would it be wrong to root for the Wolfpack?

If North Carolina loses to Notre Dame

Notre Dame has been one of the better teams in the ACC as of late, as the Fighting Irish aren't just going to hand the Tar Heels a win.

If Duke defeats NC State, Saturday's game becomes a winner-takes-all event in Durham.

What if BOTH Duke and UNC lose during the week?!

In the event that Duke loses to NC State AND North Carolina loses to Notre Dame, the worst UNC basketball could do is share the league crown.

A win means they secure it outright, a loss means that it ends in a tie with the Blue Devils.

ACC Tournament Tie-Breaker Rules

Now, in the event of a regular season tie, a tie-breaker has to be utilized in order to seed the teams for the upcoming ACC Tournament. Here is how tie-breakers between two teams is done:

When two teams are tied in the standings, regular season head-to-head results are used as the tiebreaker.

If the tied teams played each other twice in the regular season and split their games, then each team’s record against the team occupying the highest position in the final regular-season standings (or, in case of a tie for first place, the next highest position in the regular-season standings) and then continuing down through the standings until one team gains an advantage.   

When arriving at another pair of tied teams while comparing records, use each team’s record against the collective tied teams as a group (prior to their own tiebreaking procedures), rather than the performance against the individual tied teams. 

When comparing records against a single team or a group of teams, the higher winning percentage shall prevail, even if the number of games played against a team or group is unequal (e.g., 2-0 is better than 3-1; 1-0 is the same as 2-0; 2-1 is the same as 4-2; 1-0 is better than 1-1; 0-1 is the same as 0-3

If the winning percentage of the tied teams is equal against a team or group of tied teams, continue down through the standings until one team gains an advantage.

Going by the standings heading into the final week of the regular season, here's how both teams match up regarding the head-to-head tiebreakers against each conference foe. The "X" next to a team's name means that the two teams are tied against that particular opponent at the current moment.

Virginia- X
Syracuse- Duke
Clemson- Duke
Pittsburgh- UNC
Wake Forest- UNC
Florida State- X
NC State- X
Virginia Tech- X
Notre Dame-X
Boston College-X
Georgia Tech- Duke
Miami- X
Louisville- X

Of course, NC State could swing in favor of the Tar Heels if they can beat Duke this week, but if you're a fan of the UNC basketball program, you hope that the teams North Carolina has the advantage over end up finishing above the team's that Duke holds the edge against.

If you're looking for a rooting card for a potential ACC regular season tie-breaker, here it is:

Week Night Games

NC State over Duke
Clemson over Syracuse
Pittsburgh over Florida State
Wake Forest over Georgia Tech

Saturday Games

Wake Forest over Clemson

The good news is that one of Syracuse or Clemson will lose this week (they play each other). For UNC basketball fans, it would be ideal if Syracuse loses that game, as Clemson would have another opportunity to lose before the regular season comes to a close.

This scenario would give the Tar Heels the tie-breaker, but of course, the hope is that they'll just win the daggum thing outright so we don't have to stress over the possibilities!

UNC fans will also finally get to bet on the Tar Heels once the ACC tournament rolls around, and sportsbooks are already making some exclusive limited-time offers for anyone who signs up this week. FanDuel Sportsbook is awarding up to $300 in bonus bets (all you have to do is register now and bet $5 when betting launches on March 11), while Caesars Sportsbook is awarding 7 100% profit boosts to double your winnings if you sign up now and bet just $1 on launch day.