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The Race for the ACC Tournament's 8 Seed

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Brian: With the Eagles' loss to Georgia Tech, BC can now do no better than the #8 seed in next week’s ACC Tournament and a second-round date with Duke/Maryland (but probably Duke). Unfortunately though, a curious thing also happened this weekend. Two teams keeping BC company in the bottom half of the ACC standings pulled out victories. North Carolina upset Wake Forest on the road and N.C. State won at Miami.

Based on these results, while BC can finish as high as #8, they can also technically fall as low as the #11 seed.

Here’s a look at the competition in the race for the top-of-the-bottom-half of the ACC Tournament:

5-9 Virginia - at Boston College (3/3), Maryland (3/6)
5-9 Boston College - Virginia (3/3), at NC State (3/7)
4-10 Miami - at North Carolina (3/2), Florida St. (3/6)
4-10 North Carolina - Miami (3/2), at Duke (3/6)
4-10 NC State - at Virginia Tech (3/3), Boston College (3/7)

In order to avoid being the 11 seed, BC will have to win at least one of their final two games or hope for a North Carolina loss.

Here are the different scenarios that can play out over the final week of ACC action, from what I consider most likely to least likely:

BC defeats Virginia and loses to NC State. At 6-10 BC is assured no worse than the #9 seed and would finish as the #8 seed with an NC State loss at Virginia Tech on Wednesday.

BC defeats both Virginia and NC State. BC finishes 7-9 and is guaranteed the #8 seed. The Eagles would hold the tiebreaker over Virginia, Miami, North Carolina and NC State.

BC loses to Virginia but beats NC State. BC finishes 6-10. Regardless of how the Cavaliers fare against Maryland, Virginia is guaranteed no worse than the #9 seed (and could overtake Georgia Tech at #7 if several dominoes fall the Cavs way). At 6-10, BC would hold tiebreakers over Miami, North Carolina and NC State and would earn the ACC Tournament’s #9 seed.

BC loses to both Virginia and NC State. This is clearly the least likely scenario but also the most messy of the four scenarios. As stated above, a UVA win over BC guarantees them no less than the #9 seed. At 5-11, BC could be joined by as many as 3 other teams. The cliff notes answer is that regardless of whether those 5-11 teams include Miami, NC State or UNC, tiebreakers will keep BC out of the #12 seed. The most likely seed for the Eagles in this scenario is the 10 seed, though an 11 seed isn’t out of the realm of possibility.

Jeff, handicap the race for the bottom of the ACC for me. How do you see the final week of the ACC regular season playing out? BC’s seed in the ACC Tournament will be ___?

Jeff: My prediction is that Virginia will lose its final two games. Therefore BC will be in the #8 vs. #9 game, probably wearing the white jerseys as the 8 seed (after N.C. State loses at Virginia Tech on Wednesday).

I think BC is fully capable of beating Virginia and just about anyone in the ACC at home right now. But it's the Cavaliers' poor play as of late that has me convinced of the outcome of this game more so than what the Eagles have shown recently. In that #8 vs. #9 game, I am hoping that the Eagles play Virginia again which is very likely since the 'Hoos have a 3-1 combined record against Miami, UNC, and N.C. State (the other teams that may finish 5-11). The only way that Virginia does not finish in that game - assuming a loss to BC - is if Miami, UNC or NC State finish the season winning their remaining two games. That seems unlikely no matter whose schedule you look at.

Is it set in stone that BC will be playing Virginia at noon on Thursday, March 11? No. But I'll go as high as 90% right now.

Brian: Assuming BC gets a win in one their last two games and ends up playing in the #8 vs. #9 game, who would you rather see the Eagles face in the second round? Both Duke and Maryland hammered BC this year. Is one #1 seed better than the other for BC? Go on. Pick your poison.

Jeff: I am completely torn here. As you know, I'm going to the ACC Tournament for the Friday and Saturday games. Unfortunately, I have terrible tickets but I figured that going through scalpers to upgrade should be no problem (since UNC won't play past Thursday). So, if BC plays Maryland it will be a softer ticket market and easy to upgrade to prime seats. If BC plays Duke, regardless of outcome, at least I'll be in attendance for another BC-Duke game which always engages more of the crowd than any other team. The problem is that BC will be playing the noon game regardless. But who would you prefer if you were me?

Brian: While BC played Duke close in the second game at Conte Forum, Duke is on a pretty significant tear of late. The Blue Devils have won 8 straight overall and 9 straight ACC games. If Duke closes out Maryland and UNC this week, that will be quite a bit of momentum for Duke going into the ACC Tournament. I'd imagine BC would have to play a near-perfect game to upset Duke in Greensboro.

Maryland is on a tear of their own, winners of 5 straight since getting spanked by Duke back on February 13. However, I fully expect that streak to end this Wednesday when they host Duke. I know that Maryland destroyed BC while on the road back in January. But this is clearly a better BC team of late, despite the setback at Georgia Tech. If I had to choose, I like BC's chances better against Maryland than I do against Duke. Plus Greensboro is sure to be filled with annoying Blue Devil fans as the Greensboro Coliseum is only a short 90 minute drive from Durham.

So to give BC a better chance in the quarterfinals, I'll go with Maryland, but for a better fan experience, you have to go with Duke. However, all of this Duke-Maryland #1 seed speculation will be pointless with one more Duke W in their last two games.