(Records through Wednesday's games; NR = previously unranked)
1. Merrillville (1) 4-1
Merrillville suffered an early season loss for the first time since early season losses were dinosaurs. The Pirates dropped in the overall coaches poll, but not in this one, because they're still the best team in the area.
2. West Side (2) 1-1
The Cougars put South Bend Washington on their schedule for a reason, and racking up wins early wasn't it. There's no shame in falling to the Panthers, unless there's no learning from it.
3. Lake Central (3) 3-1
The Indians opened their season 3-0 for the first time since joining the early season shootout with Hamilton Southeastern and Fishers. That means that L.C. beat both Hamilton Southeastern and Fishers, and those are quality wins to clutch.
4. LaPorte (6) 3-0
The Slicers scored 75 points once last year, but averaged closer to the mid 40s. In three games, LaPorte has not scored less than 81 points in any game and beat South Bend Riley with 108. This team could be that good.
5. Hobart (7) 4-0
The Brickies have found their rhythm and are staying healthy, all necessary ingredients to fight for an NCC title. Staying that way will dictate Hobart's year.
6. Whiting (4) 2-1
The Oilers opened the season with a loss to Kouts, surprising them to reality that all the talent in the world isn't going to win games simply by walking onto the court. Whiting has a ton of potential to be a good team.
7. Bishop Noll (5) 4-1
The Warriors lost to a surprising Highland squad, then blasted through some upper-class schools. Still, the defense is allowing slightly more than 30 points per game. Keep scoring and that won't be enough for opponents to handle.
8. Lowell (10) 5-0
The Red Devils may have found their inside presence and if that's the case, this team will move up in the standings quicker than any other. This squad isn't a one-trick pony.
9. Highland (NR) 4-0
Welcome to the poll, ladies, it's been a while. If you're not impressed by Highland's early season resurgence, we'll need to talk about what's impressive. The Trojans are showing parity does exist in the NCC.
10. Kankakee Valley (8) 3-2
The Kougars were one of those teams that was surprised by Highland. They won't make that mistake again.
On the bubble: Rensselaer (2-2), Morgan Twp. (2-2), Hanover Central (2-2), Griffith (2-2).