With Virginia's 20-point drubbing of NC State on Monday night, the Cavaliers have secured their fifth straight winning record in ACC play, something they have never done.
That being said, we're less than a month away from the ACC tournament in Washington, D.C. It's been a roller coaster league campaign so far for the Wahoos, and they're in prime position for a high seed in both the conference and NCAA tournaments next month. Let's lay out the possibilities for a critical double-bye as well as a third straight regular season championship.
Double-bye (top four seed)
Virginia has been the top seed in both conference tournaments held since the second expansion of the ACC before the 2013-14 season. In the process, they've held an all-important "double-bye" which eliminates the need to win four games in as many days to secure the crown. This year, at 10-4 in the ACC, Virginia has a good chance of being a top-four seed again. To do so, winning their next three games (at Miami, vs. North Carolina, at Clemson) will do it. The remainder of the Hoos' schedule is a bit of a gauntlet, with three top-20 teams left over four games. That said, arguably the toughest one is at Miami next Monday, a team that the Cavaliers will have had a week to prepare for and already know that they can beat.
A UNC win over Duke on Wednesday would go a long way toward helping UVa in this case, but Virginia fans will effectively be able to relax if they beat Miami and UNC, which brings me to my next point.
Regular season championship (top seed)
I won't sugarcoat it - the Duke loss puts a major dent into the Wahoos' chances for a third straight ACC regular season title, outright or shared. They do not control their own destiny, but it's not impossible.
The easiest route to the title for UVa is this: Virginia wins out, finishing the season at 14-4 in conference play, followed by a North Carolina loss to Duke, which would make them 14-4 at best. Even if Miami beats UNC in this scenario, Virginia would own the head-to-head tiebreaker and, by virtue, the No. 1 seed in D.C. Similarly, Miami beating UNC along with the Tar Heels sweeping Duke would do the trick, assuming the Hoos win out.
A loss to Miami wouldn't be fatal, but things would be a lot more bleak. Beating UNC would be necessary, and the Heels and Miami would each have to drop two other games to get to five losses.
Losing to UNC would make things even tougher, as UNC would have to find a way to lose three games down the stretch, and Miami would have to lose two - including one to UVa.
To win it outright, a lot would have to go exactly right. Virginia would have to win out, and every team currently sitting at four or fewer losses (Notre Dame, Duke, Louisville*, Miami, UNC) would have to get to five. It's possible, but really unlikely.
*Louisville can technically claim a share of the regular season title, but will not be participating in any postseason tournament due to self-imposed sanctions.
With Louisville's absence, the tournament will look similar to how it did in 2015. Every team below Louisville in the standings will bump up one spot, and the 11/14 and 12/13 games will be played on Tuesday. From there, the last 12 teams standing will play things out like they did from 2006-13.