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AP Top 25: Colorado Buffaloes ranked #23

The Buffs head into the Pac-12 Tournament on a roll.

NCAA Basketball: UCLA at Colorado Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Buffaloes remain in the AP Top 25, coming in at #23 in Monday’s poll.

The Buffs handled their only business of the week, defeating Arizona State 74-61 on Thursday night. That win guaranteed them a third-place finish in the Pac-12, although it is frustrating that the Buffs were just one game back (or two losses) from first-place Oregon.

The Buffs are joined in the Top 25 by the #24 USC Trojans, who just defeated UCLA on Tahj Eaddy’s game-winner. Absent from the rankings, however, are the Pac-12 winning Oregon Ducks, who come in unofficially at #27.

Colorado will head into the Pac-12 Tournament with championship aspirations. They will play on Thursday night against the winner of Stanford vs. California. The Cardinal have dropped four straight without Oscar da Silva playing, and even at full strength Colorado swept them easily. The last-place Bears might give the Buffs more trouble, considering they won in Berkeley in February.

After that game, CU would play the winner of USC vs. Utah/Washington. If the Buffs won that game, which could be their seventh straight win over the Trojans, they would move on to the Pac-12 title game. This team has looked like the best team in the Pac-12 and they have a chance to prove it this week.

Even if CU loses on Thursday, they will make the NCAA Tournament as a 5- or 6-seed. If they win one or two, they’re probably a 5-seed. If they win it all, your Buffs would likely move up to the 4-seed. Not that it really matters, particularly when it’s a 4- or a 5-seed, but it’s worth noting what’s at stake besides the conference championship.