Well, we’ve made it. There’s just one regular season game left of the 2018-19 NCAA basketball season, and the No. 2 Virginia Cavaliers will close out its ACC slate with a visit from the Louisville Cardinals. Virginia is 27-2 on the season and tied with North Carolina for first place atop the conference at 15-2.
The 2019 ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament kicks off next Tuesday, March 12, in Charlotte, and the Hoos will be looking to defend last year’s title and go back-to-back. Seeding is yet to be finalized, but we do know that Virginia can finish no lower than the No. 2 seed. Here’s how it all shakes out:
- Virginia 15-2
- North Carolina 15-2
- Duke 14-3
- Florida State 12-5
What we know is that those teams will make up the top four. We also know that Florida State will be No. 4. So what next?
Virginia: Saturday, vs. Louisville, 4pm
North Carolina: Saturday, vs. Duke, 6pm
Duke: Saturday, @ North Carolina, 6pm
Knowing that, let’s look at possible outcomes.
If Virginia wins AND:
- Duke wins, then Virginia is the No. 1 seed in the ACC tournament and wins the conference regular season outright as the Hoos will be 16-2 with Duke and UNC finishing at 15-3.
- North Carolina wins, then Virginia is the No. 1 seed in the ACC tournament and shares the regular season crown with the Tar Heels. Both teams would be 16-2 in conference in this situation, but since the Hoos won the head-to-head matchup, they become the top-seeded team. Duke would be the No. 3 seed.
If Virginia loses AND:
- Duke wins, then Virginia is the No. 2 seed in the ACC tournament. In this situation, Duke, Virginia, and UNC would all finish 15-3 in the ACC. Duke would be 3-1 against that mini group, moving them into the No. 1 seed. From there, Virginia gets the advantage over UNC based on the head-to-head matchup.
- North Carolina wins, then Virginia is the No. 2 seed in the ACC tournament. North Carolina would win the ACC regular season outright at 16-2, Virginia would finish second at 15-3, and Duke third at 14-4. They would seed in that order in the tournament.
Virginia winning is obviously the best scenario here, setting them up for a potential matchup against Florida State in the semifinals and only having to face either Duke or North Carolina in the finals.
If Virginia does lose to Louisville, it’s just a matter of who you’d rather face in the semis — Duke or North Carolina. Losing to the Cards sets up a situation in which Virginia could have to face Duke and Carolina in back to back games, so, let’s just not do that.