(Records through Wednesday's games; last week's ranking in parentheses)
1. Merrillville (1) 4-1
The Pirates haven't played since before Thanksgiving, with more than a week to prepare for today's DAC showdown against Lake Central. Both teams are ranked in the IBCA coaches poll, with the Pirates sitting at No. 15.
2. West Side (2) 3-1
The Cougars needed a fourth-quarter comeback to save a game against Bishop Noll, showing either how good Noll is or how solid West Side can be late.
3. Lake Central (3) 5-1
The Indians are No. 20 in the all-class poll and deserve the spot. Tonight's matchup against Merrillville will be a testament to how much resentment lingers from February's regional semifinal.
4. LaPorte (4) 4-0
The only unbeaten team in the DAC, the Slicers held off Crown Point by seven points. LaPorte has also made an appearance in the IBCA rankings at No. 16.
5. Hobart (5) 4-0
Want to see parity? There are three unbeaten teams in the NCC, and the Brickies haven't allowed more than 28 points this season. They'll put their 35-point average margin of victory to the test Tuesday against Lake Central.
6. Whiting (6) 3-1
The Oilers finally roll into conference play, with their next big test Tuesday against Morgan Township. The Cherokees aren't a GSSC team, but they'll show Whiting how much work needs to be done.
7. Lowell (8) 5-0
Another NCC unbeaten, the Red Devils put their record on the line against tough-tested Kankakee Valley to open conference.
8. Bishop Noll (7) 5-2
The Warriors held on against West Side before an eventual loss. Beefing up their schedule is what this season is all about.
9. Highland (9) 5-0
The surprise to the top of the standings, the Trojans haven't opened 5-0 since the 2002-03 season. Not to put the chariot ahead of the horse, but Highland went to semistate that year.
10. Kankakee Valley (10) 3-2
Clinging to its spot in the poll, the Kougars have a chance to surprise a few teams with games against Lowell, Hanover Central and Hobart in the next week.
On the bubble: Rensselaer (2-2), Morgan Twp. (5-2), Hanover Central (3-3), Griffith (5-2), Washington Twp. (4-1).