The shakeup at the Class 4A sectionals has less to do with how the teams were paired and more to do with where they all are going.
Sectional 1, which has been at Munster since 2006, will be at Lowell. Sectional 2, which hasn't left Porter County in nearly eight years, will be at Hobart.
Lake Central, which holds the statistical advantage in Sectional 1, is part of the toughest draw in the area. The IHSAA completed the pairings Sunday about an hour before the kickoff of Super Bowl XLVIII.
The state-ranked No. 10 Indians will have to beat Highland, a 14-5 team that holds part of the Northwest Crossroads Conference championship, then the winner of Munster (6-11) vs. West Side (13-3), to play the other semifinal champ, with the host Red Devils (8-7) holding the bye.
"It's like every other year, you can't control it," Lake Central coach Marc Urban said. "The draw gives you a plan to finally know who you're playing. It makes it a little easier to be ready to play when the time comes."
Urban's father, Mike, was the coach at Highland when the Trojans last won a sectional title in 2007.
At Hobart, the host Brickies will play on the first day, drawing state-ranked No. 6 LaPorte (17-1) in the first round.
Merrillville (12-5), the defending sectional champion, will play Valparaiso (9-9) and then the winner of Michigan City (4-12) vs. Chesterton (9-9).
"Obviously, we're pretty happy with the draw," Merrillville coach Amy Govert said. "We just have to stay focused. LaPorte has been the best team all year, and it would be nice to face them at the end. We just need to stay focused and hopefully show we've improved."
Prior to announcing the slate for the Class 3A sectional at Hanover Central, commentators Bob Lovell and Matt McKee noted that Sectional 18 had just one team with a winning record.
Hanover Central coach Doug Nelson likes to think of the sectional's overall 46-75 record as parity.
"We're pretty balanced," Nelson said. "You look at our Sagarin Ratings, we're all pretty balanced. At this time of year, everyone's record is the same. I don't mean to sound cliche, but we're taking it one game at a time. We'll prepare for New Prairie, and hurry up and get ready for the next one."
Kankakee Valley, with its 12-5 record, has a 104 Sagarin Ranking. Knox, Hanover Central and Andrean are 205, 206 and 207 respectively.
The sectional games begin Feb. 11, with championships slated for Feb. 15.