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ACC Lacrosse Championship Scenarios

The Virginia Cavaliers host the ACC Lacrosse tournament this year at Klockner Stadium. The first round is on Friday April 20th (games at 5pm and 730pm) and the championship game is on Sunday at 3pm. With just one match remaining in the ACC regular season slate - Duke at Virginia this Friday at 7pm - we have somewhat of an idea of how the pairings will pan out for the first day of competition.

There's one easy scenario and one hard scenario. So let's get the easy (and hopefully unnecessary) scenario out of the way first:

If Duke beats Virginia this Friday, all four seeds are set. Duke and Virginia will be tied at 2-1, but Duke will own the tie breaker. Carolina and Maryland will be tied at 1-2, but Carolina will own the tie breaker. So Virginia will be the #2 seed in the tournament and face the #3 seeded Tar Heels in the semi-finals. Top-seeded Duke will face fourth seed Maryland.

If When Virginia beats Duke this Friday, then we have an interesting situation. Virginia will be 3-0 and the clear top seed. But all the other three teams will be 1-2. Duke beat North Carolina, who beat Maryland, who beat Duke. They all lost to Virginia. So what happens?

I didn't know, so I turned to our fearless leader Brian to find out. Here's what he gave me:

  1. Head-to-head Conference game results between the tied teams.
  2. Record versus team(s) occupying the higher position in the standings (or in case of a tie for first place, the next highest in the regular season standings and continuing down through the standings until one team gains an advantage).
  3. Goals allowed in Conference games between the tied teams.
  4. Goal differential in Conference games only (goals for, minus goals against between the tied teams).
  5. Blind draw.

Well, rules 1 and 2 don't help - they were all 1-1 against each other and they were all 0-1 against Virginia. So we get to what I think is one of the stranger tie break rules - goals allowed. Why that tie breaker comes before goal differential is beyond me. A team like Virginia that plays a fast-paced game is much more likely to allow more goals than a team playing the Princeton offense - there are just more possessions. #endpacism

But the rule is what it is... so what does it mean?

Duke allowed 10 goals in a loss to Maryland and 11 in a win over North Carolina. So that's 21 for the Blue Devils. Maryland allowed 7 goals in a win over Duke and 11 in a loss to North Carolina. So that's 18 for the Terrapins. North Carolina allowed 13 in a loss to Duke and 10 in a win over Maryland. So that's 23 for the Tar Heels.

So that leaves us with Maryland as the second seed, Duke the third seed and Carolina the fourth seed. Virginia would face Carolina on Friday while The Blue Devils and Terrapins would square off that day as well.

Interestingly, the game against Duke doesn't actually change the matchups in the ACC tournament, even though it would dramatically change the seeds.