(Last week's rankings in parentheses; NR -- not ranked)
1. Andrean (1) 9-0
It's on like Donkey Kong. Nine down. Six to go for the 59ers to get their dream. With the Northwest Crossroads Conference crown in place, Andrean must do its thing in a very winnable sectional. There can be no "Wheeler" nights this time around.
2. Merrillville (2) 8-1
The Bucs are down like a rodeo clown, Jack. Got the bye when Lafayette Jeff comes to town in the 6A opener. Another Duneland Athletic Conference title is nice, but this program is all about postseason success. Won't be tested until next week.
3. Lake Central (3) 7-2
Indians need some hot donuts. L.C. must generate some offense and let its defense do what it's been doing for the last couple of years. Shut people down with power. Like blowing up a beaver dam at midnight.
4. Lowell (6) 6-3
When the Red Devils moved back to the Lake County 4A sectional there was joy. But opening against West Side on E.C.'s turf isn't "Happy, happy, happy" time.
5. Rensselaer (5) 7-2
The Bombers got a tough opener with a very solid Bishop Noll team coming down for what should be an entertaining night. Chris Meek's power should prevail. Rensselaer assistant Eric Nowlin's beard was Duck Dynasty before Uncle Si.
6. Munster (6) 6-3
The Mustangs get a night off in the new Class 5A sectional. Some bumps might heal as Munster awaits Michigan City. The 'Stangs haven't won a sectional since 1996. This might be the time.
7. Morton (7) 8-1
If ever someone made a case for seeding the sectionals, Roy Richards would certainly be on that side. Redneck rule No. 1, most things can be fixed with duct tape. Until duct tape is taken to format, Govs get E.C.
8. Portage (8) 6-3
Will the Indians' playoff beards have a chance to get past razor stubble? One of the region's most improved teams this season, they'll have to be lights out tonight against No. 1 Penn. It's at the Warpath, so that's good.
9. Crown Point (9) 6-3
The Bulldogs have to travel to St. John tonight and it won't be easy. But the 'Dogs are on a roll. They can't play like yuppies. They can't go squirrel hunting when there's work to be done. No ice tea, either. Gatorade.
10. E.C. Central (10) 7-2
This is the game the Cardinals have been wanting for a long time. And it's here. A struggle between the urban powers, Morton and E.C.
On the bubble: Bishop Noll 5-4, Boone Grove 7-2, Hobart 5-4, Kankakee Valley 4-5, River Forest 5-4, South Central 5-4, West Side 5-4, Wheeler 5-4, Whiting 8-1.