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Aaron Fitt on the team's representing North Carolina in the NCAA Tournament

The Adam Gold Show / Adam Gold
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May 30, 2023 2:30 pm

Aaron Fitt on the team's representing North Carolina in the NCAA Tournament

The Adam Gold Show / Adam Gold

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May 30, 2023 2:30 pm

A number of teams will be representing the state of North Carolina in the NCAA Tournament playing in their respective regionals, but which team should we keep our eye on? Aaron Fitt on D1 joined Adam to preview each team's matchup in their regionals and who he likes the most. He also shares how Campbell not hosting is a motivation factor as they prepare to face NC State on Friday, 

The Steve Noble Show
Steve Noble

So it's after Memorial Day weekend. College baseball is the thing going on right now. That means we must have to talk to Aaron Fitt,, co-editor. The man who looks, he's also a great clubhouse guy.

So let's get right to it, sir. The triangle, very well represented. The state of North Carolina, very well represented with what, eight teams from the state of North Carolina. Of the 64, we got, what, 12.5 percent of the entire field from the state of North Carolina. If my math is correct, it's not that terrible. And Wake is the overall number one seed.

That's pretty good. Yeah, what a year. What a year for the old North State, huh? I mean, it's interesting because we only have one host. The three triangle teams in East Carolina, none of them are hosting.

So you would think on the surface, well, maybe it's a down year. I mean, none of those teams are top 16, but Wake Forest picks up the slack at the top end. And you've got all those teams.

The volume there obviously is impressive, but all those teams are dangerous too, man. I mean, I think we've talked before about UNC and Duke and State. I think they're all capable of making postseason runs, certainly East Carolina as always. Maybe there's less pressure for East Carolina. Maybe the path for East Carolina to get to Omaha is to not have to do it in front of their own fans. The party's already started and the weight of the world is on your shoulders. You got to deliver for these guys. Maybe easier if they can do it on the road, man.

I mean, who knows? Well, I wasn't going to start with East Carolina, but let's do it since you already brought it up. Why do I like them in that 14 bracket at UVA? Well, I mean, it's a tough bracket, but they all are. I think actually we've got really good competitive balance fields this year, but Virginia is good. Now, Oklahoma feels like one of the most vulnerable three seeds. A team that probably shouldn't be in the tournament and they went 31 and 26.

There were three games below 500 in their league. They were in the finals last year of the College World Series, but it's a different team. There's a lot of turnover there, but they play an exciting style of baseball. They'll push the action, a really, really aggressive running team. So, East Carolina has got to be strong behind the plate, which they have been. ECU, they pitch really well. That is a pitcher's park that you're going to up there.

So, I actually kind of like the draw. It's a place they're comfortable, familiar. They always do fall stuff with Virginia.

They've made that trip up there plenty of times. Yeah, I kind of like it too. I mean, I think they've got the best pitching in this regional. Virginia stands out for its offense, but not as much for the arms. So, ECU, I could see it there.

I really could. All right, let's go with another two seed that I kind of dig. If Duke didn't kind of just, you know, fall off a little bit at the end, then maybe Duke would be looking at a one and hosting even over on campus. What do you like about Duke who has to deal with UNC Wilmington right out of the gate, but ultimately the regional at Coastal? Yeah, I love the bullpen at Duke, and I love the power and the offense. I think this might be the most home runs they've ever hit in a season, which there's a lot of that going around in college baseball right now.

Let me tell you, a lot of home run records, school home run records falling. So, take that with a great assault if you want, but I mean, they got power. They got real power. You know, the transfers that they brought in, MJ Metz and Jay Beshears, these guys that just made a huge difference for them offensively, but also, I mean, it's a staff that's built from the back forward, which, you know, nowadays can work. I mean, they've embraced the opener thing and mixing and matching, but that bullpen is the strength of the team. The key for them, one key for them might be that the freshman closer, James Talon, he was so good all season long. I am starting to wonder if he's maybe hitting that freshman wall. Wasn't as good in the ACC tournament and late, you know, so that's something to monitor for them, but boy, I mean, Fran O'Sheil looks awesome as a sophomore who's really emerged this year as a big power arm.

Maybe he becomes kind of the key guy in that pen, but I mean, I think Talon still, he's still really good, but they're going to need him if they can make a deep postseason run. All right, let's go to the Wolfpack who get to take on Campbell. You can make an argument that Campbell could have been a host if, in my opinion, you know, just look at, I mean, 44 and 13, that's a pretty stout season, but at perennial, although maybe not as much lately, National Championship contenders South Carolina as the host. Yeah, that's a fun regional and I'm with you.

I think Campbell should have hosted. We had them projected as a host in our final projection. I mean, 14 RPI, you know, whatever, nine wins gets the top 50. They beat East Carolina three times in midweek. So yeah, they dominated a weak conference, but they dominated it and, you know, they won the conference tournament and they've got pedigree. You know, they've been in the postseason a lot lately. They gave Tennessee, mighty Tennessee last year, all they could handle is the number one national seed in a regional. They're going to be hungry, I think, coming into this thing after you're getting snubbed for a host against the vulnerable South Carolina team that has not been the same over the last five or six weeks of the season. They've had injuries, but they were 30 and four, I think at one point, it looked like one of the best teams in the country.

And, you know, since then, I mean, they lost the last four series, four and 11 down the stretch. You know, we don't know how healthy, we don't know who's gonna be available for them. It really feels like a place where Campbell could go in. I mean, they've got a very, Campbell has a very powerful offense. Again, we've got a home run hitters ballpark here.

I think Campbell has good arms, you know, as usual power arms. And if you state the factors, the three seed here too now, I mean, again, the team that feels very well suited for that ballpark, it's an offensive team, it's an offensive park. If they pitch enough, you know, which they have at times, you've seen flashes of it, they could still be dangerous here. That kind of house money team with nothing to lose.

Yeah, and a skipper who has been there and done that pretty much in Elliott-Avon. Aaron Fitt, is joining us here on the Adam Gold Show. The Tar Heels are grouped in with Iowa, Indiana State. Is Larry Bird pitching? I don't know. And Wright State, what chances you give the Tar Heels here? Have you ever seen the old photo of Larry Bird in a baseball uniform?

No, I have not. He went to Indiana State and like he decided, I think he was on a bed or something like, yeah, I'm gonna go out and play some baseball. He's got this big ol' dip in his cheek or whatever it is. And then he's just like, it's such a great 70s photo.

You got to find it. But yeah, you know, Indiana State pitching a defense team, you know, they throw strikes, they take care of the ball. I mean, they're not going to blow you away. This field feels pretty wide open because I think, you know, Iowa is a solid two seed, but UNC could have been a two seed. So it kind of feels like that's almost that borderline matchup there between maybe the last two and the first three. And then you've got Wright State, who's one of the best four seeds in the tournament for me. They're always a factor.

They're really, you know, a great program. And this is another really good team for them. So yeah, I mean, for North Carolina, I think I heard yesterday that Vance Honeycutt is not going to play this weekend, which is certainly not what you want to hear heading into a regional. And, you know, I thought they looked good without him in the ACC tournament.

They made the semi-finals. They just stick Matt Korvath in center and he's not Vance Honeycutt, but he runs well. And, you know, they've got enough depth and enough moving parts there to kind of absorb that. But of course, he's the most dynamic player along with Horvath and you'd love to have him healthy to maximize your chances. So we'll see how they handle that. But I feel like North Carolina's pitching is kind of coming together at the right time. I love the emergence of Jake Knapp there and kind of Max Carlson's return to form late in the year. So I'm cautiously optimistic for North Carolina's chances as well.

All right, one more thing. And by the way, I just pulled up the picture of Larry Bird playing baseball. And that is, I mean, he doesn't look, at least in the still photograph, does not look out of place for Midwest baseball back in the 70s. And we're talking with Aaron Fitt at And finally, the Wake Forest number one overall seed. Now, they have put together an incredible program out in Winston-Salem. That's pretty lofty though.

How do they go about the business of backing that up? And they didn't have to win the ACC tournament to do it. So they were the number one seed regardless, obviously, based on what they accomplished during the regular year. Yeah, really incredible, incredible regular season. I mean, one of the best regular seasons we've seen. I mean, right there with Tennessee last year now.

And I bring that up because that's a cautionary tale. I mean, Tennessee had a historic season last year, dominated the SEC. And if you line these two teams up side by side, there's a lot of similarities as far as the statistics and then the rankings in the national categories, all this stuff. And Tennessee didn't get to Omaha because I think there is a little bit of extra weight on your shoulders when you know you've had this incredible season. It's almost like, man, we got to break through.

We got to break through. And Wake Forest, especially, this is not a team that's going to be in this position year in and year out. This is kind of their shot because at a private school in baseball, you know, you kind of get these windows every few years. It's hard to do it year after year because you've only got 11.7 scholarships, right?

You know, it's hard to build that kind of depth that you need to just keep it going every single year. So it kind of feels like it's now, you know, now's the time. How will they handle that? So far, they've handled everything all year long.

It's a little bit different when you know, you know, this is it. Like, we don't win this game. Oh, man, like this incredible season we've had is over. And so I think Wake Forest is the best team in the country, you know, not just the highest ranked team, but I mean, they're the most complete team. Their pitching is so much better than everybody else out there in this crazy offensive environment that we're in. And they play in such an offensive yard, and they lead the nation in ERA and full run lower than the next best power five team.

I mean, that's utterly absurd, how good their pitching has been. And they got real power. And of course, and, you know, they play defense, they do it all. They're the best team, but they got to they got to get to Omaha, you know, they really, they really got to get there. And they know that.

And so we'll see how they handle that. No question about it. Aaron fit. d1 at Aaron fit on Twitter, a great clubhouse guy and I appreciate your time. I will talk to you again soon. You know that. All right, Adam, you got it.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-30 17:04:02 / 2023-05-30 17:09:14 / 5

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