Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Women Readying for Post-Season Run

The women's team has been playing some spectacular ball this year.  Their 24-5 regular season mark is legitimately one of the best seen in Boulder over the last two decades.  As a result, they've earned a #18 ranking in both major polls, and numerous members of the team received well-deserved league honors. The traditionally strong program is 'back,' and rolling towards post-season action.
Chucky Jeffery, a first-team All-Pac-12 performer, has helped lead the Buffs through a sterling regular season campaign.
After a rocky 4-5 start to conference play, the ladies worked their butts off to come back and earn a first round bye for the Pac-12 tournament in Seattle.  Unfortunately, their reward is one of the tougher draws available.

While they don't have to play Thursday night (a gift to be sure), on Friday they'll probably be tasked with Washington, playing essentially a road game against the local Huskies.  While CU handled UW the only time they played, it was in Boulder, and by a relatively slim seven point margin.  The rematch won't be easy.
A CU/UW rematch won't be an easy post-season opener for the Buffs.  From: the BDC
Should the Buffs survive the quarterfinal, their reward would be... a date with national #4 Stanford. I don't think the Cardinal is necessarily unbeatable, as they're still without the services of guard Toni Kokenis (who dropped 15 points and five assists the last time CU and Stanford played), but I would much rather be seeing them in the final, and either Cal (who CU pushed through two losses) or UCLA in the semis.

Add it all up, and the Buffs scored a damn tough bracket.  There was some talk yesterday that CU has the ability to win the tournament, and they certainly do.  But I see a pseudo-road game followed up by the league's #1, and I get a little nervous.
Stanford, and star forward Chiney Ogwumike (#13), would be a tough draw for the semi finals.
When it comes to capital 't' Tournament time, things look much better, at least for the first two rounds.

The ladies are probably looking at either a 4- or 5-seed, depending on how things shake out in Seattle.  That's probably fair, and, with CU hosting the first two rounds at the CEC, the team will have a great chance to reach the Sweet Sixteen for the first time in a decade.  One scenario I'd love to see?  Top-25 Nebraska getting sent to Boulder as the other half of the 4/5 combo.  The committee likes to keep travel costs down, afterall...

Of course, the problem with a 4/5 seed is that a #1 looms should you get past the first weekend.  In a year with a dominant set of 1-seeds, that's essentially a death sentence.

It's March, though. There are no easy games in the third month of the year, so I can't really complain about the difficult matchups headed CU's way.  It'll now be left to the women to capitalize on the opportunity they've earned for themselves, and make some noise.

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