ACC Championship 2013: How UNC vs. Miami Will Impact NCAA Tournament Seeds
A lot of the drama has been taken out of the ACC championship game on Sunday between North Carolina and Miami because we know that both teams will be in the NCAA tournament.
However, we can manifest some drama by debating where North Carolina and Miami will be seeded based on what happens during this game. As we know all too well, one win or loss this time of year will get the Selection Committee to shift everything on their big boards right now.
With that in mind, here is a look at the most logical scenarios for North Carolina and Miami in the event of a win or loss in the ACC championship game.
All team stats courtesy of ESPN.com
What happens if Miami wins ACC championship
Right now, Miami looks like a lock for a No. 2 seed regardless of what happens in this game. The Hurricanes have the fourth-best RPI in the country. They have the seventh-toughest strength of schedule and went 14-2 against the RPI Top 100.
In addition to the favorable computer rankings, Miami won the ACC regular-season championship with a conference record of 15-3. It also holds a dominating 90-63 victory over Duke, a team that was in serious contention for a No. 1 seed before losing to Maryland in the ACC tournament.
At this moment the four No. 1 seeds look like Indiana, Gonzaga, Louisville and either Kansas or Duke (it's so close that you can flip a coin to make the choice).
However, considering Miami has that huge win over Duke on its résumé, would have the regular season and conference title under its belt, and has a better RPI and strength of schedule than Kansas, there is a strong case to be made for the Hurricanes as the fourth No. 1.
Ultimately, as good as that résumé would look with a win, Miami is going to end up getting "stuck" with a No. 2 seed.
For North Carolina
Which scenario is most likely to happen?
North Carolina has slowly moved up the brackets as the season has gone along. It isn't going to get an incredibly high seed, but a win in this spot could move the Tar Heels up as high as a No. 5 seed.
They are 9-3 in their last 12 games (before Sunday). They played the 11th-hardest schedule in the country this season. Where they will be hurt is a 2-7 mark against the RPI Top 50 and a bad loss against Texas.
It's not even clear how much the Tar Heels' run in the ACC tournament so far will help them, since they have only beaten Florida State and Maryland to get here. A loss against Miami won't reflect poorly on them, because they are supposed to lose this game.
When all is said and done, North Carolina will be on the No. 6 line. Not bad for a rebuilding year in Chapel Hill.
What happens if North Carolina wins ACC championship
For North Carolina
As mentioned before, North Carolina has a chance to move up with a win over Miami. It would easily be the best win of the year for the Tar Heels. It would leave the Selection Committee with a strong impression of how far this team has come this season.
Just one signature win, which North Carolina doesn't really have right now, can do a lot to change perceptions in the hours leading up to the Selection Show. When you are 2-7 against the RPI Top 50, you need something big to shift opinion in your favor.
Another ACC championship for Roy Williams' squad will likely be good enough to bump them up to a No. 6 seed. A five is possible, but that depends on how the committee views the ACC conference as a whole and how difficult North Carolina's path to the title really was.
The Hurricanes seem destined for a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament. Even if they were to lose in this spot, could you really justify putting them below potential No. 3 seeds in Florida, Syracuse or New Mexico?
Winning the ACC regular-season championship and advancing to the ACC championship game has to weigh on the committee's mind. If it doesn't, victories over Michigan State, Duke and two wins over North Carolina and North Carolina State in the regular season should.
Even though I do see a No. 1 seed as a stretch for the Hurricanes with a win here, I have no problem putting them on the two line with a loss in this spot. If you want to look at it from the snake seeding that the committee uses now, I would say they are the No. 7 seed overall (third among the No. 2 seeds) and playing in the West bracket.
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