Florida State vs. North Carolina will face off in a Tuesday afternoon showdown at the College World Series. The winner will move on to live another day in Omaha while the loser will watch their season draw to a close.

UNC opened the CWS with a dramatic walk-off win against Virginia. Unfortunately, the Tar Heels could not muster enough offense in a 6-1 loss to Tennessee.

Florida State opened its CWS journey on the wrong side of some drama against the Vols. Tennessee rallied from a 9th-inning deficit, complete with a controversial call on a check swing by Blake Burke.

The Seminoles would get past Virginia 7-3 in the first game of the elimination bracket to set up Tuesday’s win-or-go-home meeting.

FanDuel has the latest odds for the matchup with Florida State at -125 and UNC listed at -102. First pitch for the showdown is set for 2 pm ET on ESPN. While the two sides are both ACC programs, they did not play a series in the regular season.

3 keys

Vance Honeycutt getting help from UNC’s lineup

Vance Honeycutt was the hero of UNC’s walk-off win against Virginia, even as he finished just 1-for-5 at the plate. However, the loss to Tennessee was a different story.

Honeycutt finished 1-for-3 with a solo home run and a walk, but the rest of the Tar Heel lineup was largely unproductive. Casey Cook, UNC’s No. 2 hitter, finished 1-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts and a double play shortly after Honeycutt’s 8th-inning walk.

If UNC cannot get production behind Honeycutt, it will be tough to challenge FSU, especially if the Seminoles are able to avoid Honeycutt’s bat.

Can James Tibbs III deliver a big moment?

Though the Seminoles are 1-1 in Omaha, Florida State has scored 18 runs in its 2 games so far. What is impressive, and troublesome, is that the Seminoles have scored that many runs without anything of consequence of James Tibbs.

A top prospect for the 2024 MLB Draft, Tibbs finished the CWS opener 1-for-6 against Tennessee with 4 strikeouts. Tibbs would walk twice against Virginia but was otherwise 0-for-2 with an RBI.

So far, the Seminoles have made their living offensively with some big hits from Marco Dinges and Jaime Ferrer in the middle of the lineup. That duo has scored 7 runs and driven in 11 RBI, meaning FSU could be close to an even bigger breakout against UNC.

If Tibbs can get things rolling at the plate, the Seminoles can apply offensive pressure in a major way.

Forecast looms large

It’s never fun for either team when the weather plays a role in the game, but the forecast for Omaha is certainly lurking on Tuesday. First pitch is set for 1 pm local time, and the threat of thunderstorms in the area begins to creep up after 3 pm.

If either starting pitcher finds his groove early, it will be paramount to keep the game moving in a timely fashion.  If the game slows down, it could lead for a hectic finish when the weather finally arrives.