Let's be honest. It wasn't a very good midweek performance from the conference. (The results are below.) Oh, there were some better outings, but, in general, it was disappointing. As such, I'm pleased to have conference play resume.
Not every school has submitted a weekend preview yet, but I've included the ones we have and tossed in some additional links to reading material for your enjoyment.
Illinois @ Indiana
Illini midweek: W vs. SIU-Edwardsville (7-6), ppd. vs. Illinois State
Hoosiers midweek: W vs. Chicago State (11-4), W vs. Cincinnati (16-4)
The Illini issue their weekend press release.
Indiana's SID counters.
A couple of bloggers offer their take. The Illini Baseball Report interviews IU's Behind The Plate. The favor is returned as BTP does a Q&A with the IBR.
Penn State @ Michigan
Nittany Lions midweek: W vs. Bucknell (6-5), L vs. Kent State (4-3)
Wolverines midweek: L vs. BGSU (8-3), W vs. Oakland (14-13)
UM's Baseball Central offers up a a preview.
No PSU thoughts as of yet.
Varsity Blue previews the PSU set from a Wolverine perspective.
Note: The Friday game has been postponed. The sides will play two games on Saturday.
The Big Ten Network, which was scheduled to broadcast the Friday, will instead televise nothing.
Northwestern @ Michigan State
Wildcats midweek: No games scheduled.
Spartans midweek: Ppd vs. Notre Dame, W vs. Central Michigan (20-3)
The Wildcats' SID previews the trip to East Lansing. (Should be fun on Final Four weekend.)
The Spartans open a new the new McLane Stadium vs. NU this weekend.
Note: The Friday contest has been washed away before a drop of precipitation has fallen. Like the series in Ann Arbor, there will be a Saturday twinbill.
(24) Ohio State @ Minnesota
Buckeyes midweek: W vs. Xavier (9-7), L vs. Marshall (14-3)
Gophers midweek: L vs. Northern Iowa (9-7)
A preview of the Buckeyes three games in the dome.
The Gophers' preview the big series.
Iowa @ Purdue
Hawkeyes midweek: W vs. Upper Iowa (11-8), L vs. Illinois State (9-6)
Boilermakers midweek: Ppd vs. Louisville, L vs. IPFW (22-19)
Neither SID has offered up a preview yet. When we get one, I'll add it to the list.
The understatement of this post is that the OSU/Minnesota series is big. Really big. Two nationally ranked opponents (only NCBWA ranking included here) both vying for a conference title and a possible at-large tournament berth. No pressure, though.
Illinois and Indiana is nearly as compelling. The Illini look to increase their one game lead atop the Big Ten and IU, a preseason favorite, is looking to prove that all the hype was true. The battle will be won between the Hoosiers pitchers and the Illini hitters.
Penn State is actually the higher ranked RPI squad in Ann Arbor this weekend. A series win for Michigan will help them climb the RPI ladder. If PSU can take the three-game set, the Nittany Lions might find themselves on the fringe at-large tourney consideration. (Albeit, a conversation on the first weekend in April.)
Purdue, Iowa, Michigan State and Northwestern are still harboring conference tournament dreams and need W's quickly. The story in East Lansing, beyond the Spartans' Final Four appearance in Detroit, is the opening of their renovated yard.
Other items meriting a look:
College Baseball 360's combined poll.
The College Baseball Blog's Colin Weber predicts the NCAA Tournament Field.
Kendall Rogers does the same at Rivals.
OSU's Dan Burkhart joins IU's Josh Phegley in Rivals' Power Poll at catcher.
Boyd's World's Pseudo-RPI numbers.
Finally, once the games have concluded on Sunday night, the College Baseball Blog will be hosting a live online chat to discuss the action. It's all begins at 9:00pm EST. I've been invited and have been asked to pass the invite along to you.