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The University of Colorado Buffs play against the University of Alabama at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Madison Square Garden in New York. The NIT semifinal will be televised on ESPN2.

For information on the CU Alumni Club events in New York, visit nybuffs.com.

Jessica Finlay-Schultz wore a black and gold jersey when the Buffs squared off against Texas Southern for their first round game in the National Invitation Tournament.

CU won that game 88-74. So, the CU alumna donned the same jersey -- as a good luck charm -- for the next couple of NIT games. Now, she's packing it up and taking it with her to New York, as she and her husband are traveling there to watch the Buffs play in the semifinals.

CU takes on Alabama at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Madison Square Garden. And, while they're not in the Big Dance -- and some fans still hold a grudge against the NCAA for not awarding CU a bid -- basketball fans like Finaly-Shultz have rebounded.

"If we win the NIT, that'll show the NCAA that we deserved to be there," she said.

Finaly-Shultz and her husband met when they were in the marching band together as undergraduates at CU-Boulder. Finaly-Shultz -- who graduated with a bachelor's degree in 2002 and earned her doctoral degree from the Anschutz campus in 2010 -- played the piccolo and trombone. Her husband was on the drumline.

As the band traveled with the basketball team for away games, it had occurred to them both that CU fans weren't as mobile as those from other schools.

"We tried to make a point to change that," she said about traveling to New York this weekend.

She was in attendance at CU's quarterfinal game against Kent State last week and said that Coors Events Center felt "electric." Both basketball teams that wear the Buffs uniforms are on roll in the NIT.

CU's women's basketball team on Sunday hosts future Pac-12 rival Southern California at 1 p.m. in the Coors Events Center for the quarterfinals of the women's NIT.

Ron Geschwer -- the president of CU's alumni chapter in New York -- is ready to welcome fellow Buffs to the Big Apple.

"There's so much buzz around here," he said. "We're all proud."

University of Colorado graduate Glenn Shafer, of West Hartford, Conn., is taking his son Josh, 10, pictured above, to the Buffs basketball game Tuesday
University of Colorado graduate Glenn Shafer, of West Hartford, Conn., is taking his son Josh, 10, pictured above, to the Buffs basketball game Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden. In this family photo, Josh poses for a picture on Pearl Street last spring when the Shafer family visited Boulder. ( COURTESY GLENN SHAFER )

Buffs fans will be tailgating prior to the game and the alumni chapter will be giving away temporary tattoos, T-shirts and NY Buffs stickers and food. Chip, the cheer squad, the band and Athletic Director Mike Bohn are scheduled to make special appearances at the party.

CU junior James Fitzgerald was in New York for spring break and wishes he could have stuck around for the semifinals game. He watched the quarterfinals game from his laptop, and attended several basketball games throughout the season.

The computer science major said that the Buffs playing in the NIT -- as opposed to the NCAA tournament -- gave Boulder basketball fans a chance to see more live tournament games.

Glenn Shafer.jpg CU graduate Glenn Shafer, of West Hartford, Conn., is taking his son Josh, 10, to the Buffs basketball game Tuesday night at Madison
Glenn Shafer.jpg CU graduate Glenn Shafer, of West Hartford, Conn., is taking his son Josh, 10, to the Buffs basketball game Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden. ( COURTESY GLENN SHAFER )

"I think I tried to find the silver lining, and I was happy that we got to play more home games," he said.

Glenn Shafer, who graduated from CU with a history degree in 1989, told his 10-year-old son Josh during the Kent State game that if CU won, they'd travel to New York for the game.

So, they'll be taking a train to New York from their hometown of West Hartford, Conn.

"He's never been to a Buffs game, so I know when he walks into Madison Square Garden, he's going to see and feel the Buff spirit," Shafer said.

Shafer, who is an investment banker, remembers attending football and basketball games at CU when he was an undergraduate. Back then, the University of Kansas and the University of Missouri were basketball powerhouses. He said he remembers getting down to the front row for some of the games.

"It's a game that I can't miss because it's so close to home," he said.

Standing at 5 feet, 1 inch tall, Josh Shafer is the tallest kid in his fifth-grade class -- and basketball is among the sports he's playing.

Shafer said that he's excited for his son to witness the pockets of gold T-shirts and the camaraderie among CU graduates.

"It's a game that I can't miss because it's so close to home," Shafer said.

CU architecture student Cameron Cowart, of Arvada, plans to watch Tuesday night's game in his dorm room. He's still shocked that he didn't get a chance to pencil CU into his NCAA bracket.

"I think it's great we've been playing as well as we have despite the situation, however I think everyone's a little bitter about the selections," he said. "So, it's tough to realize that this is still a huge step for CU basketball. It will hopefully help our recruiting a lot and improve our current players' experience."

Contact Camera Staff Writer Brittany Anas at 303-473-1132 or anasb@dailycamera.com.