Clemson baseball: What has to happen as tournaments near?


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Can the Tigers win enough over the next two weeks to host a regional?
Can the Tigers win enough over the next two weeks to host a regional?

The Clemson baseball team picked up a win over Georgia Southern Sunday afternoon, and while the game didn’t have Atlantic Coast Conference implications it was a much-needed win for a team chasing a berth in the NCAA Tournament.

The Tigers defeated Georgia Southern 17-4 Sunday to improve to 34-18 on the season with four regular season games left to play – at home against Charleston Southern on Tuesday and a three-game series at Notre Dame starting Friday.

The ACC baseball tourney starts on May 24th (a week from Tuesday) and runs through the following Sunday. The tournament will be played at Durham Bulls Athletic Park in Durham, N.C.

The good news for Clemson is that a sweep of Notre Dame would keep the Tigers out of the play-in game on Tuesday based on a top-six seeding. The bad news – Clemson hasn’t played particularly well on the road.

Let’s take a look at how the ACC tourney works: The top team from both the Atlantic and Coastal divisions, determined by conference winning percentage, and the next eight teams with the best conference winning percentage regardless of division will be selected to participate in the Conference Baseball Championship. The two division champions will automatically be seeded number one and two based on winning percentage in overall conference competition, and the number one seed shall have the choice of its preferred day off. The remaining teams will be seeded (three through ten) based on winning percentage in overall Conference competition without regard to division. All ties will be broken using the tie-breaking provisions.

Making it simple – you want to avoid being one of the seven through ten seeds, because they have to play in the play-in game on Tuesday. Those teams have to burn their best starter and will likely use their bullpen before anyone else plays a game. The losers go home – there is no double-elimination or second chance.

As of Sunday, Clemson is sixth with a 13-14 conference record and holds the tiebreaker over the other team with the same record in Wake Forest. All the other teams – including teams that would hold the tiebreaker over the Tigers based on head-to-head play are at least a game behind Clemson.

Here is the way the conference looks as of Sunday:

ATLANTIC DIVISON

 SCHOOLS	CONF    PCT	OVERALL  PCT
Louisville	18-8	.692	41-10   .804
Florida State	14-8	.636	32-17	.653
NC State	13-11	.542	32-16	.667
Clemson	        13-14	.481	33-18	.647
Wake Forest	12-14	.462	30-20	.600
Notre Dame	11-13	.458	27-23	.540
Boston College	11-14	.440	28-18	.609

COASTAL DIVSION

SCHOOLS	CONF    PCT	OVERALL  PCT
Miami	18-6	.750	39-9	.812
UVa	16-10	.615	33-17	.660
Duke	12-14	.462	31-20	.608
Ga Tech	11-14	.440	32-18	.640
UNC	11-15	.423	32-19	.627
Pitt	10-15	.400	25-22	.532
VA Tech	6-20	.231	19-32	.373

The formula for Clemson is simple – a sweep would be fantastic and winning two of three is a must. As for the NCAA Tournament, the Tigers look to be a lock provided things don’t completely fall apart. If the Tigers win out and get to 38 wins and win two in the ACC Tournament, that would put them at the magical 40-win mark that most teams shoot for when wanting to host a regional. Most reputable sites have the Tigers as two-seed as of right now, but winning out and winning a few in Durham could change that. Most of it depends on what happens over these next four games.

And, because I knew you would ask, here are the tiebreakers for seeding in the ACC Tournament:

Seeds Three Through Ten Determinations

(a) Divisional Opponents

Two-Team Tie

(1) Head-to-head competition between the two tied teams.
(2) Records of the tied teams within the division.
(3) Head to head competition of the tied teams versus the team within the division with the best overall conference winning percentage (divisional and non-divisional) and proceeding through the division. Multiple ties within the division broken from first to last.
(4) Overall record versus all common non-divisional opponents.
(5) Combined record versus all non-divisional opponents.
(6) Record versus common non-divisional opponents based on their order of finish within their division.
(7) Coin flip.

Three-or-More-Team Tie
(1) Combined head-to-head record among the tied teams.
(2) Records of the tied teams within the division.
(3) Head-to-head competition versus the team within the division with the best overall (divisional and non-divisional) conference winning percentage, and proceeding through the division. Multiple ties within the division will be broken first to last.
(4) Overall record versus non-divisional opponents.
(5) Combined record versus all common non-divisional opponents.
(6) Record versus common non-divisional opponents with the best overall conference (divisional and non-divisional) winning percentage and proceeding through the other common non-divisional opponents based on their order of finish within the division.
(7) The seed(s) shall be chosen by a draw.

(b) Non-Divisional Opponents

Two-Team Tie
(1) Head-to-head conference competition between the tied teams.
(2) Head-to-head competition of the tied teams compared to common opponents with the highest overall conference winning percentage and continuing until one team gains an advantage.
(3) Coin flip.

Three-or-More-Team Tie
(1) Combined head-to-head record among the tied teams (if common opponents).
(2) Head-to-head competition of the tied teams compared to common opponents with the highest overall conference winning percentage and continuing until one team gains an advantage.
(3) The seed shall be chosen by a draw.


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