Zone Read AM: Oregon men’s basketball’s ’96 percent’ chance for March Madness, while Kenjon Barner advances to his own Final Four

Posted by Matt Walks on Tuesday, Feb. 19 at 10:54 am.

Despite their recent tough sledding, the Ducks were given a No. 6 spot in ESPN’s most recent Bracketology prediction for the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. It’s the same spot Oregon held last week. Although much basketball has yet to be played, Joe Lunardi pitted Oregon against No. 11 Iowa State in the mock-up.

The four projected No. 1 seeds are Indiana, Duke, Florida and Miami (Fla.).

TeamRankings.com has a much clearer, less subjective explanation of Oregon’s postseason chances. They’ve got Oregon at No. 7 against No. 10 Belmont in the South region. But more importantly, they’ve broken down projected March Madness bids by conference.

The Pac-12 is slated to warrant just under five bids. As it stands, Arizona is a shoe-in for the Big Dance, according to the website. The Ducks have the second highest chance to clinch a spot, at 96 percent, with a projected win-loss record of 24-7. Of the conference’s 12 teams, only Utah has been mathematically eliminated.

Via TeamRankings.com

Speaking of Final Fours… Former Oregon running back Kenjon Barner made the cut as one of four final contenders for the cover athlete of EA Sports’ NCAA Football.

Michigan’s Denard Robinson, Texas A&M’s Ryan Swope and Alabama’s Eddie Lacy join Barner. If the last round of votes is to be believed, however, Barner will need a serious push from Oregon voters to make the final two. The Riverside, Calif., native finished fourth in quarterfinals voting.

Via a press release from EA Sports, makers of the popular video game:

Voting for the semi-final round has begun on the NCAA Football Facebook page, and will continue through Feb. 24. Fans are reminded that vote totals have reset, so the ultimate prize is still up for grabs. Fans can continue to support their favorite schools and players on Facebook by voting in polls posted on the page as well as “liking” posts featuring their favored school or athlete.

Barner rushed for 1,767 yards and 21 touchdowns in his last season and is a projected fourth- or fifth-round draft pick in this year’s NFL Draft.

Hot bats ignite hot start. For the first time since 1981, Oregon baseball is 4-0.

The Ducks swept Hawai’i in Honolulu, outscoring the Rainbows 21-11 across the season-opening four-game series. Monday night’s 4-2 win may have come at a cost, however, as Oregon pitcher Jeff Gold took a grounder to the ankle and left in the fifth inning.

Oregon hosts its first game of the season at PK Park against Loyola Marymount on Friday, Feb. 22. The first pitch of the three-game series is slated for 6 p.m., followed by Saturday’s 2 p.m. game and Sunday’s noon game.