After Thursday night’s loss to Virginia, the Hokies were all but out of the ACC regular-season title picture. But the Cavaliers lost to Wake Forest Saturday, putting Virginia Tech back in the hunt. Going into Sunday’s action, Virginia Tech, UNC, and Boston College were all in position to catch the Cavaliers in the ACC standings, creating a plethora of tiebreaker possibilities. Who’s going to win? We tell you what to look for.
Virginia’s shocking road loss to cellar-dweller Wake leaves the Cavaliers at 11-5 in the conference, with BC, UNC, and VT all 10-5 entering Sunday. First of all, to our knowledge, any teams that finish tied atop the standings are declared regular-season co-champs, so a win by the Hokies Sunday gets them that distinction. But if ties occur, who becomes the #1 seed in the conference tournament, and (some would claim) the “real” champion? Here are Sunday’s games involving the front-runners:
- Clemson at Virginia Tech, 1 pm, Raycom-Lincoln Financial.
- Boston College at Georgia Tech, 3 pm, Fox SportsNet.
- Duke at North Carolina, 4 pm, CBS.
Potentially, all four teams (UVa, VT, BC, and UNC) could end up tied at the top of the ACC standings at 11-5, or there could be any number of other possibilities (okay, not any number, but there are a lot of combinations). The Roanoke Times consulted the ACC offices before the Wake-Virginia game Saturday and produced a tiebreaker guide. First of all, for the Hokies to have a shot at the title, they have to beat Clemson at home Sunday. If the Hokies do win, they’ll tie Virginia at the top of the league standings, where BC and UNC may or may not join them.
If VT wins over Clemson Sunday, the following possibilities arise (per the Roanoke Times and ACC):
- If there is a 4-way tie between VT, UNC, UVA and BC, then VT will earn the #1 seed.
- If there is a 3-way tie between VT, UVA and UNC, then VT will earn the #1 seed.
- If there is a 3-way tie between VT, UVA and BC, then BC will earn the #1 seed.
- If there is a 2-way tie between VT and UVA, then VT will earn the #1 seed.
If the Hokies defeat the Tigers on Sunday, Tech will own three of the four tiebreaker possibilities.
- If Tech wins, root for BC to lose at Georgia Tech.
- If Tech and BC both win, root for UNC to win against Duke.
- If Tech wins, the only outcome that will deny the Hokies the regular-season title is a BC win and a UNC loss.
This situation is reminiscent of the 2005 football season, when the Hokies lost to Miami and seemingly fell out of the Coastal Division race. But the Canes lost to Georgia Tech, putting the Hokies in the ACC title game against FSU. The VT football team wasn’t able to take advantage of their second chance in 2005; hopefully, the VT basketball team will end up with a better fate.