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Virginia Basketball: Magic Numbers as of 2/19

With the win over the Hokies, Virginia is guaranteed a top-4 spot in the conference (for the third straight year) and a double-bye in the ACC Tournament. What do we need to do to guarantee more?

Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

I won't go into all the details about tie-breakers that I did from the previous article. If you need a refresher go ahead and read it - I'll wait.

Ready? Let's go!

Here's the current standings of the four teams that actually matter to U.Va.'s eventually placement in the ACC:

Team Conf Overall
Syracuse 12-0 25-0
Virginia 13-1 22-5
Duke 10-3 21-5
North Carolina 8-4 18-7

Virginia can't fall out of the top four anymore, so I will leave the rest of the standings off. You can see the full standings at if you want.

So what are our remaining numbers?

Magic Number for 3rd place: One

One more win would guarantee that we can't fall below North Carolina. With one more win, the worst we could finish would be 14-4 and the best Carolina could finish (by winning out) would be 14-4. Since we hold the tie-breaker over the Tar Heels by virtue of our head-to-head win over them, we would take 4th place.

Magic Number for 2nd place: Three

The number has decreased by one with our win over Virginia Tech, but the scenario is still the same - because Duke holds the tie-breaker over us, we need to stay a game ahead of them. They could theoretically finish 15-3 and so we need to finish 16-2 to guarantee we stay ahead of them. That means going at least 3-1 in our remaining four games.

Magic Number for ACC Regular Season Championship: Four

Similar to the 2nd place scenario, this scenario is still the same even though the number has decreased by one. To guarantee that we finish in first place, we need to win all four of our remaining games. Remember, this doesn't mean that we have to win all our remaining games to win the regular season. If we go 3-1 and beat Syracuse and Syracuse loses one other game (say, to Duke), we would still finish in first place by virtue of the tie-breaker over the Orange. But to guarantee it, we need to win out.

That's all for now. Unless Syracuse loses to Boston College tonight (unlikely), I will update these numbers on Friday after tomorrow night's Duke/UNC game. A loss by UNC would mean we clinch third place. A loss by Duke would be good for Virginia (cutting our 2nd place magic number to two) but also complicates some of the scenarios. I'll explain on Friday if necessary.