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Breaking down Colorado’s tricky path to winning the Pac-12 women’s basketball tournament

After failing to secure a top-four seed, Colorado’s path to winning the Pac-12 women’s basketball tournament will require four wins in five days. It has been done before — Washington State did it last year as a No. 7 seed — but the fifth-seeded Buffs will need some Las Vegas magic.

Colorado’s first-round game comes Wednesday against a 12th-seeded Oregon team that fell to the Buffs by 33 points last month. With a win there, CU head coach JR Payne and Co. will face a much more challenging Oregon State squad that swept the Buffs during the regular season. The No. 4 seed Beavers held Colorado to under 63 points in both matchups.

If the Buffaloes’ offense can figure out Oregon State, top-seeded Stanford will likely be CU’s semifinal opponent. While both teams have gone in opposite directions since, Colorado beat the Cardinal, 71-59, in their only regular season matchup on Jan. 14.

On the other side of the bracket, I see the JuJu Watkins-led USC Trojans reaching the championship game. Stars step up on the biggest stages and Watkins is certainly capable. The freshman superstar scored 42 points while leading USC to an 87-81 win over the Buffs on Feb. 23.

From a wider perspective, if the Buffs can do enough this week to earn a top-four seed in the subsequent NCAA Tournament, their trip to Las Vegas should be viewed as successful.

Here’s a full look at the 2024 Pac-12 women’s basketball tournament bracket:

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Story originally appeared on Buffaloes Wire