NCAA's Cinderella team looks for glass slipper at Cowboys Stadium

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by JOE TRAHAN

Bio | Email | Follow: @joetrahan

WFAA

Posted on March 25, 2013 at 10:15 PM

Updated Monday, Mar 25 at 10:43 PM

ARLINGTON — A fork lift scooted by, carrying large maple wood panels. Meanwhile, workers members pushed, shoved, and banged the panels into place.

It's all a part of March Madness in North Texas, with some nerves mixed in.

"Early this week, when you're in the venue and everything isn't quite set, you get those little nerves going," said NCAA Tournament manager Tim Allen. "And you kind of wonder, 'Are they going to get it ready?'"

Well, the court on the floor of Cowboys Stadium is now ready. It took about five hours to piece together the 280 panels.

Now an event more than five years in the making is that much closer to reality.

"I remember bringing the NCAA out here for hard hat tours," said Cowboys Stadium executive Brett Daniels. "Now, to see it going in, we got the court going down, video boards up, NCAA's coming in this afternoon, we'll play basketball on Thursday. It’s exciting!"

Speaking of exciting, Cinderella school Florida Gulf Coast may have ruined your bracket, but it’s also added sizzle to the South Regional.

Kansas and their fans will travel well — especially to play another hoop powerhouse like Michigan.

But when Florida, the regular season SEC champs, take on Florida Gulf Coast in the nightcap on Friday, sports fans across the country will be locked in.

It’s a phenomenal story. Just one week ago, nobody knew anything about the Eagles — now they're flying high.

More than becoming the first 15-seed to make the Sweet 16, the Eagles have dominated their first two tournament games.

Their back-story is interesting. Head coach Andy Enfield has made millions in business, and he's married to a supermodel. The school's been post-season eligible for just two years, and they are making the most of their Big Dance debut.

"Over the course of the game, the whole crowd started to get behind us — whether or not they're from Fort Myers, or as I like to say, 'Dunk City,'" said UFGC guard Sherwood Brown after beating San Diego State on Sunday.

Meanwhile, back at Cowboys Stadium, nerves have eased. Allen is having fun with the Eagles' story.

"I think the hard part is what type of shoes you wear," he said. "Not 'Do you wear Adidas or Nike?' but, 'Do you wear glass slippers?'"

Whatever they're wearing, North Texas will have a front row seat for what Cinderella has in store.

E-mail jtrahan@wfaa.com

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