Last year's records in parentheses
1. Michigan City (18-7)
The Wolves return all of their scoring and a lot more experience from a team that finished second in the Duneland Athletic Conference and won a sectional title. Talent is not lost at Michigan City. If the Wolves don't win the DAC this year, call the season a disappointment.
2. Merrillville (21-1)
The Pirates lost their top scorer, but aren't rebuilding. This team simply doesn't rebuild. Expect Merrillville to give Michigan City its biggest problems this year in conference play and continue to pester nonconference foes.
3. Lowell (18-4)
The Red Devils also return all of their starters, and have learned a lot from their mistakes of last season. Aggressive play could make this a much harder team to contend with, and early returns should put Lowell in the sectional final.
4. E.C. Central (18-7)
The Cardinals will struggle early, while giving younger players time to gain experience. E.C. Central did everything possible to build a challenging schedule. That'll make the Cardinals tough to beat in February.
5. West Side (17-7)
Having not graduated a single point or assist means the Cougars take every lesson learned from last year's seven losses into this season. The team has matured and no doubt expectations have increased.
6. Wheeler (17-7)
The Bearcats boast one of the best outside shooters in the area and are on pace to start a new dynasty in the GSSC. Wheeler will even cause fits for nonconference foes, as it aims for a shot in a weighty sectional.
7. Hanover Central (13-8)
Hanover Central is easily the PCC favorite with one of the best players in the conference backed up by solid post play. The Wildcats are on pace to take home a conference title in their last season there.
8. Whiting (16-6)
Also returning the bulk of its talent is a Whiting team that surprised many with its fierceness last season. The Oilers showed no trace of surprise in their new Class 2A status and won't be pushovers this season either.
9. Griffith (18-7)
The Panthers haven't lost a sectional game since 2008 and don't expect to again. Though still searching for an inside presence, Griffith will put up a good fight in conference and contend to advance to yet another regional.
10. Hobart (11-12)
The Brickies are undeterred by a down year after a graduated Class of 2011 that brought success. The rebuilding was last year, reaping the rewards from it begins now.
On the bubble: Gavit (9-12), Bowman Academy (19-7), LaPorte (13-9), Lake Central (13-10)