North Carolina (33-21, 14-14 in the ACC) heads into the ACC Tournament as the No. 7 seed, joining No. 2 Virginia and No. 11 Georgia Tech in Pool B. The Diamond Heels open play Tuesday at 3 p.m. against the Yellow Jackets and close out pool play on Thursday at 3 p.m. against the Cavaliers. Each pool winner advances to the tournament semifinals on Saturday. If two or more teams have an identical record in pool play, the higher seeded team advances. UNC head coach Scott Forbes joined Inside Carolina’s Tommy Ashley and Matt Clements to discuss his teams’ rough week ahead of the ACC Tournament in Durham. Scroll down for excerpts from that conversation…. Scott Forbes: “I was interested to see what our guys were going to look like yesterday. We had a team lift and I thought they looked great. That tells me they have recovered and bonded. We tell them, say we went to Clemson and Coastal and went 3-1? At the end of the day, we wake up Sunday morning and it’s a new season. The only thing is we had a chance to potentially win the Coastal. “Clemson beat us good that first game and we had a chance at Coastal with a lot of guys out. Those guys we plugged in gave us a chance. Those last two games (at Clemson), we couldn’t get a big hit, and they did. Give Clemson credit, they’ve been sweeping everybody. They are hot as a firecracker. “Our guys know how fast it can change. And they know we are in the exact same spot we were in last year from the standpoint of we finished well to have some momentum, we just didn’t do great in that road swing. So you move on and get ready for the tournament. You realistically know that everybody is 0-0, even Wake Forest. They are a lock to get a national seed, but national seeds or the high seed teams don’t always win in the postseason. “So our goal will be to get our guys healthy. I do think it helps us playing in Durham this year. If we had to get back on that bus after going on that road trip… that might be pretty tough on our guys.” Forbes: “It’s one thing if you haven’t made the NCAA tournament for five years and it’s like ‘whoa, this is new.’ Our guys know what it’s like. I’ve always looked at it is a good thing because you know that everybody’s going to show up every pitch because like you said, it can be your last game. In making it through a season where you play so many games… I told our guys, think about teams like Louisville, Florida State, Mississippi State, Ole Miss and some others… they’re not even playing anymore. It tells you how hard it is. “Don’t look on the fact that you didn’t win the ACC regular season, don’t look at the fact that you’re not probably going to host a regional, look at the fact you put yourself in a position still to reach your goals and that is to try to win a national championship. So it’s a fresh start to me for a team like us that’s been up and down but has kept our head above water and battled some pretty significant injuries. You’re hoping you can get those guys healthy and do your best to make a run. Forbes: “You want to win, but the most important thing is individual players’ health. Regardless, you want to make sure they are taken care of first. You are never going to play a kid if it’s going to hurt him. “So in our case, Johnny Castagnozzi was out, Alberto Osuna broke his hamate (bone) right before the season, Patrick Alvarez broke his hand against Miami. And then Vance, in the last game against NC State, tweaked his injury pretty good. So that’s why you hope you have some depth. “With a guy like Vance, he’s never missed a start and has been in the middle of the order. You aren’t going to necessarily replace that production so you hope you don’t get worse defensively. So you lose a guy that is capable of 15-20 home runs and 65 RBIs, but thankfully we’ve got some guys that can really defend, make plays and not give away games. So you deal with it. “You hope he can play but every player is different. Vance is a speed guy so that’s part of his game. If he can’t play fast twitch, you have got to get him to where he can.” Forbes: “That’s a credit to Mac. And great for him because he gets to showcase… Mac is such a team guy that he would never say this, but I’ll say it for him… it doesn’t hurt that he can play all over, because if I’m here watching him as a scouting director or general manager, that kid can play third base, right field, center field. He’s athletic, he can steal bases. “He’s been our catalyst, our guy and an iron man-type guy that shows up every day and gives it everything he has. When you play like a Vance or a Mac, sometimes those injuries are harder to avoid because you are going hard into bags, you are running hard in the outfield, you can run into the wall… we are lucky to have them. “Another guy that can really play center is Carter French. He can really defend so it gives up some options.” Forbes: “It gives us a stabilizer in the lineup. He doesn’t strike out, can walk, and has enough power to hurt you. He’s a Mikey Madej type. We can plug him in that five, six or seventh hole between a (Hunter) Stokely and Castagnozzi that gives you speed in the middle. The guy can hit and run and really defend. “I wasn’t sure he’d be able to play at Clemson. Honestly, it did surprise me a bit with the bat speed he had and being able to get on top of it. Clemson was hot and throwing pretty well…(Caden) Grice is probably overall their best and I thought (Alvarez) had some of the best at bats of anybody on our team when he was in there. So you’ll see him there the rest of the season. “Sometimes it hurts more to swing and miss so I told him not to swing and miss. He’s our glue guy so it’s been a big boost for us.” Forbes: “Those are the main two, Bovair and Carlson. Carlson against NC State, he was really good. Maybe (his performance at Clemson) was a lit bit shorter rest. Maybe that’s a blessing for the tournament because he didn’t have that many pitches if he starts (Tuesday), which he probably will … yes, Carlson is starting Tuesday. And Bovair, I really thought last year he really started to figure it out out of the bullpen. “We are at the point in the season where the first game is so important… so besides Carlson’s start (Thursday at Clemson), I felt like our guys threw the ball pretty dang well against a hot team. Will Sandy gave up some runs but our go-to guys — Ben Peterson, Kevin Eaise, Dalton Pence, now Bovair in the pen and Knapp — looked mighty good. They gave us a chance to win and that’s what you ask for. We just couldn’t get a big hit with runners on base. “And (Matt) Poston, man, he made a couple of mistakes with that split but he was so amped up and hadn’t pitched in a while… he was throwing propane. So that experience will help him in the next big environment because (Clemson) was one of the bigger environments we will play in aside from East Carolina. I told our guys, we will be in that type environment in the regional or if you make a super regional. When you’re on the road, and it’s somebody else’s place, you have got to overcome it. So hopefully that’ll help us.” Forbes: “I think we’ve been pretty dang good defensively. Colby Wilkerson has been unreal this season at shortstop, as good as any defensive shortstop we’ve had here. Maybe five errors on the season? That’s amazing with how many assists he’s had. And (Jackson) Van De Brake made a couple, which is unlike him since he doesn’t make many. Other than that, I thought we were pretty solid defensively.” Forbes: “There’s no doubt that he’d be number one, positionally. Casey Cook is as well. You’re not sure coming off that injury and I mean, that kid’s hit over .400 in ACC play. That’s hard to do. I’d like to see his RBIs go up, which they will. “And then I will say on the mound, Matt Poston. If you saw him when he first got here, his development, and how much better he’s gotten. I mean, I didn’t think he’d pitch for us when the fall ended. So after the full fall season, and for him to come along. And then the other guy I would say that in season has improved the most might be Ben Peterson.” Forbes: “It’s just part of the landscape, the current landscape we’re in now. If a young man comes in and decides he wants to enter the transfer portal, he’s no longer on your team. It doesn’t make them bad kids, it doesn’t make us bad coaches, it’s just part of what happens. “We do feel like at North Carolina, every kid that comes into this program is treated well. Nobody that leaves here can say they weren’t respected and given opportunities, and also opportunities to come to a great school and get a great education. “Now with the transfer portal, more kids decide (to leave), especially if they aren’t playing and that’s ok. I don’t want to see any hard feelings and I want to help these kids. You can’t talk out of both sides of your mouth and even the ones that leave as long as they are good teammates and doing what they are supposed to be going off the field, you understand that. It’s part of what we do. “There comes a time where maybe a young man doesn’t feel like he’s going to get on the field. He wants to give it a shot somewhere else, that is the plus of the transfer portal and you ask how we handle it? You just handle it and you move right along.” Forbes: “Easy. The 18-inning affair with the Wolfpack. I love it. Once the game starts for me… the build up to the game, the things you think about as a coach, that’s where you get your butterflies and stuff. But once it starts, that’s my favorite part. Until the game ends, you hope you come out on top. But if you do it long enough, you experience both sides, right? You’ve experienced winning and walking off Alabama at Alabama, and then you’ve experienced losing to Davidson in a regional. So you know both and it prepares you for all that. “But when you get a game like that and you step back and you are watching it, you look at the players and the game and you see that talent level on that field. The more I coach, the more I appreciate it. Kids competing and you hate for either team to have to lose… obviously you don’t hate it when you win. But that game stands out just because Carlos Rodon was so dominant. They had the bases loaded, somehow we would get out of it and then we score one run in the 18th and they had the bases loaded with no outs. And we get out of it and we win the game. “Then the next day, we have two pitchers available, Taylore Cherry and Trevor Kelly, and sure enough they find a way to beat Virginia Tech. That’s the beauty of a sport like baseball.” Forbes: “We go round and round in the ACC meetings and the whole thing is to try to prepare you to be ready for the NCAA tournament. You have to be careful in certain tournaments of wearing your team out or wearing your pitching out. So that’s the plus of pool play. You get a day off most of the time and you don’t have to crush your pitchers and your guys aren’t totally gassed when the tournament’s over. So really, for me, you’re probably going like pool play more if you’re in good shape with the NCAA Tournament, because you can kind of set up your pitching as you want to.” With a reclassification decision — and potentially a college decision as well — looming, Jarin Stevenson has scheduled an official visit to North Carolina. The 6-foot-10, 200-pound Pittsboro (N.C.) Seaforth forward will make the short drive to Chapel Hill for an official stay next Tuesday, May 30, his family confirmed to Inside Carolina. Ranked a consensus Top 15 prospect in the 2024 class, Stevenson told Inside Carolina over the weekend that he expects to make a decision soon on whether or not he’ll move up to the 2023 class and enroll at college this summer. “By the end of the school year I’ll probably make a decision, which is June 9,” he said. “That’s the end of my school year, so that’s the timeline right now.” Stevenson has made countless unofficial visits to North Carolina since the Tar Heels offered him in October of 2021, and Hubert Davis and his staff have made many trips to Seaforth during that span, including a visit from the UNC head coach earlier this month. North Carolina has multiple open scholarships for the 2023-24 season and has voiced a willingness to accommodate the reclassification. “I talk to him every week,” Stevenson said. “We text, he calls me sometimes. Hubert Davis is a great guy, very nice, and a great community over there at UNC … he showed me a lot at UNC. He invites me over anytime I want to go. And yeah, just a great, great school, great person — great overall.” In terms of the other schools in the running, Stevenson has taken official visits to Virginia, Missouri, and Georgetown, plus unofficial trips to Alabama, Duke, and NC State. Stevenson was named the Gatorade North Carolina Player of the Year as a junior after averaging 21.5 points and 11.6 rebounds for a 2A Seaforth team that finished with an 18-9 record. “I feel like I got a lot better from last year,” Stevenson told 247Sports. “I worked on my ball-handling, my shooting and my finishing around the basket. I felt like I was blocking more shots and being more of an enforcer in the paint and got better overall as a leader too.” He’ll play in the final session of the Nike EYBL circuit’s regular season this coming weekend in Memphis, Tenn. Played with Team United 17U, Stevenson has averaged 11.0 points and 4.5 rebounds through the first 11 games. © 2005-2023 CBS INTERACTIVE ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. CBS Sports is a registered trademark of CBS Broadcasting Inc.