Virginia Basketball: Remaining Scenarios

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

I like to fret the details. I think most Virginia fans do as well. So here's the details on the remaining 16 ways that Syracuse and Virginia can finish the regular season.

There are four games left in the ACC regular season that will determine where Virginia finishes. Syracuse at Virginia (March 1, 4pm), Georgia Tech at Syracuse (March 4, 7pm), Virginia at Maryland (March 9, noon) and Syracuse at Florida State (March 9, 2pm). Those four games mean there are 16 scenarios that can play out.

Virginia, sitting alone in first place in the ACC at 15-1 with only two games left, is in the driver's seat to claim the #1 seed in the ACC tournament. But are a few other options here. Virginia could claim that #1 seed without winning the regular season title outright (by finishing in a tie with Syracuse, but holding the tie-breaker). That would still be awesome, but it would be better to claim it outright for the first time in 30-some years. Because that's what this season has been about, right? Breaking 30 year old school records? But I digress.

Here are the filtered scenarios, roughly from simplest, to most convoluted:

  • Virginia beats Syracuse = Virginia Wins Outright. It doesn't get much simpler than this. If the Cavaliers take down the Orange on Saturday, the other three games don't matter as far as seeding or outright regular season championships or anything. Virginia has it locked up as they can finish no worse than 16-2 and Syracuse could finish no better than 15-3. Ken Pomeroy gives this a 71.00% chance of happening.
  • Syracuse wins out, Virginia loses out = Virginia is in 2nd place. This is also pretty simple. Syracuse would be 16-2, Virginia would be 15-3. This is obviously worst-case scenario here. Ken Pomeroy gives this a 4.86% chance of happening.
  • Syracuse wins out, Virginia beats Maryland = Virginia ties for first with Syracuse (thus claiming first regular-season title since 2007), but loses the tie-breaker and has the #2 seed in the ACC tournament. Ken Pomeroy gives this a 9.86% chance of happening.
  • Syracuse beats Virginia, Georgia Tech and Florida State beat Syracuse = Virginia Wins Outright. If the Orange escape JPJ on Saturday but then drop their remaining two games, Virginia would still clinch the outright regular season title regardless of how the game against Maryland goes. Ken Pomeroy gives this a 0.80% chance of happening.
  • Syracuse beats Virginia, Syracuse beats Georgia Tech OR Florida State (but not both), Virginia beats Maryland = Virginia Wins Outright. Ken Pomeroy gives this a 9.03% chance of happening.
  • Syracuse beats Virginia, Syracuse beats Georgia Tech OR Florida State (but not both), Virginia loses to Maryland: Virginia ties for first with Syracuse, but loses the tie-breaker and has the #2 seed in the ACC tournament. Ken Pomeroy gives this a 4.45 % chance of happening.
To summarize, according to Ken Pomeroy:
  • Chance of winning ACC title outright: 80.8%
  • Chance of sharing ACC title and getting #1 seed: 0.0%
  • Chance of sharing ACC title and getting #2 seed: 14.3%
  • Chance of finishing 2nd overall: 4.9%

This looks pretty good from where I'm sitting. I guess there's a reason Ken Pomeroy has Virginia at #4 in the country right now.

That said, the games are played on the court, not in Excel or in my head (unfortunately - we would win a lot more games if they were played in my head). So these numbers don't mean much if the Hoos don't execute.

Let's just keep it simple. Beat the Orange on Saturday, win the ACC.

Go Hoos

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