ACC Tournament Projections: Hoos on First?

Streeter Lecka

The weekend ACC games are finished and we are just nine days away from the start of the ACC Tournament. Where does each team stand? Which seeds can your favorite team earn?

In honor of the M.I.T. Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, I will continue the "nerd series" here at Blogger So Dear by simulating the remainder of the ACC season 1,000 times using Ken Pomeroy's win probabilities. The distribution of wins is listed below.

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(Table through March 4th)

Virginia-

After Saturday's dominating win over Syracuse, Virginia has clinched the ACC regular season and will be the 1 seed in the ACC Tournament. I know that was short, but the purpose of this piece is to discuss seeding possibilities.

Possible Seed -1

Syracuse

The Orange lost to Virginia on Saturday and therefore ended their chances of winning the ACC regular season, despite starting 12-0 in conference. Syracuse has now lost 3 of their last 4, but will be double digit favorites against Georgia Tech on Tuesday night. If they win that contest they can do no worse than the 3 seed and if they win out they will clinch the 2 seed.

Possible Seeds- 2, 3 & 4

Duke

Duke took the week off while half of the top 10 teams in the country took losses. The Blue Devils have at least an 80% chance to win each of their remaining two games and a 67% chance to win both. If Duke wins out and Syracuse slips up to either Georgia Tech or Florida State then Duke could get the 2 seed because they are the only team who has beaten Virginia. I expect them to win out but still get the 3 seed.

Possible Seeds- 2, 3 & 4

North Carolina

North Carolina didn't play its best game against Virginia Tech, but they did enough to win. The Tar Heels have now won 11 in a row and will be double digit favorites in Monday's contest against Notre Dame. If Carolina wins out, they will earn at least the 3 seed in the ACC Tournament. They could potentially get the 2 seed, but they would need Syracuse to lose to Georgia Tech and Florida State. It's looking like the 4 seed for the Heels.

Possible Seeds- 2, 3 & 4

Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh is very probable to end up as the 5 seed. There is an approximately 95% chance that they win at least one of their remaining two games (North Carolina State, at Clemson). They will be double-digit favorites against the Wolfpack and should be an ever so slight favorite at Little John. If they beat Clemson they guarantee at least the 6 seed. Should they lose out and Florida State win out, then they will finish 7th, but the odds of that happening are quite small.

UPDATE: Pittsburgh now must beat Clemson in order to clinch the 5 seed. If they lose, they will become the 6 seed. If they lose and Florida State wins out, then Pittsburgh can drop as far as the 7 seed.

Possible Seeds- 5, 6 & 7

Clemson

Clemson and Maryland played for 40 minutes and then 10 more minutes of FREE BASKETBALL on Sunday. It went back and forth, but ultimately Clemson won and got their 9th ACC win. Clemson now holds tiebreakers over both Maryland and North Carolina State. They also hold the tiebreaker over Florida State because they split the seriesand have the better win (Duke). The Tigers have a 71% chance to beat Miami on Tuesday and if they do that they assure themselves of at least the 6 seed. If they win out, they will win the 5 seed because of having the better win (Duke) than Pittsburgh.

Possible Seeds- 5 & 6

Florida State

The Seminoles took care of business at home against Georgia Tech and earned their 8th ACC win with two home games remaining. They have an 84% chance of winning at least one of their remaining two games and approximately a 35% chance of winning out. The Noles could get passed by Maryland if they finish with the same record and Maryland beats Virginia, because that would give the Terps the "best win." They could also lose out and have Miami win out and then get the 10 seed, but the odds of that happening are 3.5%. The odds are very good that Florida State gets the 7th seed.

Possible Seeds 7, 8, 9 & 10

Maryland

The Terps couldn't win Sunday's matinee tilt against Clemson, but they still have an outstanding opportunity to earn their 8th ACC win when they take on Virginia Tech on Tuesday. They also have a reasonable chance (30%) to beat Virginia on Saturday in the Comcast Center. Most likely, Maryland is going to be sitting at 8-10 headed into their final ACC Tournament. They are looking at the 9 need in that case (assuming State wins once more) because Florida State has a better win than they do and Maryland is 0-1 against North Carolina State this season.

Possible Seeds- 7, 8 & 9

North Carolina State

The Wolfpack lost yesterday, but with a home game remaining against Boston College it's likely that State will finish 8-10 in conference. They hold a tiebreaker over Maryland as well as Florida State, but it's more likely that the Noles finish with at least 9 conference wins. I expect State to play Maryland in the 8-9 game with State being the 8 seed.

UPDATE: The Pack got a huge win in Pittsburgh last night. Now all they have to do is beat Boston College and have Florida State to lose either at Boston College or at home against Syracuse for them to get the 7 seed.

Possible Seeds- 7, 8 & 9

Miami

Miami beat North Carolina State on Saturday and in doing so gave themselves a chance to avoid the Wednesday edition of the ACC Tournament. The Hurricanes currently sit at 6-10 in conference. They split the season series with North Carolina State and hold the better win (North Carolina). Miami will be in a dog fight at Clemson on Tuesday night. If they can win that game and their game against Wake Forest that will get them to 8 wins. North Carolina State will probably lose to Pittsburgh and if they do then the best they can do is go 8-10 in conference. This situation is not probable, but there is now more than a 20% chance that Miami gets to 8 wins in the conference. I expect them to get the 10 seed and play Virginia Tech on Wednesday.

Possible Seeds 7, 8, 9, 10 & 11

Notre Dame

Notre Dame has just one game remaining and it is at North Carolina on Monday night. They have nearly a 90% chance to lose and in that case they will finish the ACC regular season with a record of 6-12. They lost their head-to-head matchup with Miami, so in the event that they both finish with 6 wins, then the Irish can do no better than the 11 seed. Even if they beat Carolina, they would need Miami to lose out in order to get the 10 seed (2% chance). Irish fans, you can make pretty definitive plans to watch your team on March 12th at 7 p.m.

UPDATE: With their loss to UNC, they are now locked in at 6 wins. It's most likely for them that they will be the 11 seed, but if Wake Forest beats one of Duke or Miami then they will be passed and fall to 12th.

Possible Seeds- 11 & 12

Wake Forest

Wake Forest snapped their 7 game losing streak when they defeated Clemson, then inexplicably lost by 8 points at home to Boston College. Had they defeated Boston College, the Deacs would have been in outstanding position for the 11 seed in the ACC Tournament, but alas it was not meant to be. There is now a 67% chance that the Deacs lose their remaining two games and finish the ACC season with a record of 5-13. It's probable that Georgia Tech wins at least one more game and it's not unlikely (47%) that Boston College wins at least one more game. If that happens, then because of tiebreakers the Deacs will finish as the 14th seed. Wake can still get the 9th seed, but that requires them to win out, Miami to lose to Clemson and Notre Dame and North Carolina State to lose out. I wouldn't hold my breath and I expect the 13 seed.

Possible Seeds- 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 & 14

Boston College

I give credit to BC for just taking it to Wake Forest on Saturday. With that win they guaranteed that they would finish no worse than 14th in the conference. They can win out and with some help finish as high as 12th, but they have a greater than 50% chance of losing out and finishing 14th.

Possible Seeds- 12, 13 & 14

Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech may have lost at Florida State, but they still have the coveted home game against Virginia Tech this upcoming Saturday. A win there would be very positive for the Yellow Jackets and would mostly likely result in the 12 seed given they hold tiebreakers over Boston College and Wake Forest. In the event of an upset over Syracuse, they also hold the tiebreaker over Notre Dame and could jump to 11th. They could finish last if they lose out and Virginia Tech wins out, but the odds of that happening are less than 1%.

Possible Seeds- 11, 12, 13, 14 & 15

Virginia Tech

The Hokies put up a strong effort against the Tar Heels on Saturday, but it just wasn't enough. Virginia Tech is now two games behind Boston College with two games to play and cannot finish above the Eagles. If the Hokies can win at Maryland and at Georgia Tech (2.8% chance), while the Yellow Jackets lose at Syracuse then Virginia Tech would earn the 14 seed. Let's not hold our breath on that one;they'll be the 15 seed.

Possible Seeds- 14 & 15

(h/t to Tar Heel Blog for a great explanation of the ACC tiebreakers.)

For a pdf of the tournament bracket with times click here.

Please continue to check in with Blogger So Dear later in the week when we have an even clearer idea of the standings.

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