Road to Final Four Goes Through Cowboys Stadium

Stadium prepares for Sweet 16 round of NCAA Tournament

March Madness is coming to Cowboys Stadium this week with the Sweet 16.

But before the madness of March begins on the court, the court actually has to be built.

A brand-new hardwood floor arrived at the stadium Monday morning in 280 pieces.

Crews spent the day assembling the court, where Kansas, Florida, Michigan and Florida Gulf Coast will play in the NCAA Tournament.

Above the court, an additional video board will be underneath the massive big screen that usually dwarfs everything else in the stadium.

Also, the seating is being reworked. The stadium is adding bleachers and chairs -- 15,000 for a more-intimate feel so that fans can be close to the action in cavernous Cowboys Stadium.

About 42,000 people are expected to be in attendance.

Officials say it will be good practice for next year, when Cowboys Stadium will play host to the Final Four, which is expected to draw 80,000.

"There's no question that this is our opportunity to shine, for the NCAA to take a good, hard, long look at the facility and what it can do," said Tim Allen, NCAA Tournament manager for this round and this venue. "All in all, it's been a long time coming."

"It's exciting," Cowboys spokesman Brett Daniels said. "We started [planning] this thing in 2007."

This year's tournament Cinderella story -- Florida Gulf Coast, the only No. 15 seed to ever make it this far -- is adding to the excitement. The team is in addition to tournament regulars such as Kansas, Michigan and Florida.

"There's a strong, strong alumni base for the University of Kansas here," Allen said. "We understand from our team host that Florida has a very active and high-profile alumni association here in North Texas."

Daniels said Cowboys Stadium adds a dimension that no other venue can match.

"I think it's the excitement of playing at Cowboys Stadium," he said. "A lot of people have heard about it, seen it on TV. I know talking to the athletes when they come through, they've seen it, heard about it, but to actually be here and play a game -- that's something special."

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