North Carolina, Memphis, Kansas and UCLA earned the top seeds in the NCAA tournament Sunday, and the top-ranked Tar Heels got the best deal of all: Their road to the Final Four won't veer more than two hours outside their Chapel Hill campus.
The Tar Heels (32-2) are the top seed in the East, with their first- and second-round games scheduled for Raleigh and the next two rounds in Charlotte.
"It's an advantage if you play well," said Carolina coach Roy Williams, trying to lead the Tar Heels to their second title in four years. "Just because the crowd's cheering for you, I've never had a crowd win a game. I know it sounds wacko."
Like North Carolina, Kansas, UCLA and Memphis won their conference tournaments to seal their top spots Memphis in the South, Kansas in the Midwest and UCLA in the West.
The Final Four is set for April 5-7 in San Antonio.
March Madness officially begins Tuesday with an opening-round game between Coppin State and Mount St. Mary's, then with first-round games Thursday and Friday. The real festivities, however, have already started, with the brackets out, the pencils sharpened and office pools getting in full swing.
In the East region, North Carolina will open against the winner of the Coppin State-Mount St. Mary's game, while No. 2 seed Tennessee will open against No. 15 American.
Other games in the region are: No. 7 Butler vs. No. 10 South Alabama; No. 3 Louisville vs. No. 14 Boise State; No. 6 Oklahoma vs. No. 11 St. Josephs; No. 8 Indiana vs. No. 9 Arkansas; No. 4 Washington State vs. No. 13 Winthrop; and No. 5 Notre Dame vs. No. 12 George Mason, which will try to repeat its surprising trip to the Final Four two years ago.
By defeating Texas in the Big 12 title game, Kansas earned its top seed, a short trip to Omaha, Neb., and a first-round game against Big Sky champion Portland State.
The marquee matchup in that region, however, will be between No. 6 Southern California and No. 11 Kansas State a meeting of top freshmen O.J. Mayo and Michael Beasley.
Other Midwest games pit No. 8 UNLV against No. 9 Kent State; No. 5 Clemson vs. No. 12 Villanova, a bubble team; No. 4 Vanderbilt against No. 13 Siena; No. 2 Georgetown vs. 15 Maryland-Baltimore County; No. 7 Gonzaga vs. No. 10 Davidson; and No. 3 Wisconsin vs. No. 14 Cal State-Fullerton.
In the South region, Memphis opens against No. 16 Texas-Arlington, No. 8 Mississippi State plays No. 9 Oregon, No. 5 Michigan State plays No. 12 Temple and No. 4 Pittsburgh plays No. 13 Oral Roberts. The other side of the bracket includes No. 2 Texas vs. No. 15 Austin Peay, No. 7 Miami vs. No. 10 St. Mary's, No. 3 Stanford vs. No. 14 Cornell and No. 6 Marquette against No. 11 Kentucky, with coach Billy Gillespie in his first year at the school.
In the West, UCLA plays No. 16 Mississippi Valley State, No. 8 BYU plays No. 9 Texas A&M, No. 5 Drake plays No. 12 Western Kentucky and No. 4 Connecticut plays No. 13 San Diego. Other games are No. 2 Duke vs. No. 15 Belmont, No. 7 West Virginia vs. No. 10 Arizona, No. 6 Purdue vs. No. 11 Baylor and No. 3 Xavier vs. No. 14 Georgia, which won the Southeastern Conference on Sunday afternoon to make a surprise trip to the NCAAs with a 17-16 record.