(Records through Wednesday's games; last week's rankings in parentheses)
1. LaPorte (1) 16-1
The Slicers suffered their first loss of the season, but it's not one to be ashamed of. Falling to Mishawaka, LaPorte no longer has the pressure of perfection and can focus simply on finishing out their final three games.
2. Lake Central (2) 16-2
The Indians are down to their final stretch, but with their last game two days after the sectional draw, L.C. could be even more dangerous in the postseason, with a week or more to prep.
3. West Side (3) 10-3
West Side's schedule is bottom-heavy, meaning that they played two games in November and have as many remaining (six) as they did in all of December. Whether that promotes late-season fatigue or postseason success, we're three weeks away from knowing.
4. Merrillville (4) 11-5
The Pirates can no longer claim youth, and with Penn and Northridge still on the horizon, there's a chance to show that the tough schedule has made its mark.
5. Bishop Noll (5) 14-2
The Warriors anchor the "tough side" of the Greater South Shore Conference tournament bracket. Another tourney title is surely Saturday's triumph.
6. Morgan Township (6) 11-3
Like Noll, the Cherokees should be heading into next week's game against the Warriors with a conference tourney title. Morgan has the depth to be Porter County Conference champs.
7. Crown Point (7) 10-6
The Bulldogs are a win-some, lose-some crew this season. They could/should end on a four-game winning streak, making what they want out of the postseason.
8. Highland (8) 11-5
The only thing stopping Highland from securing its share of the Northwest Crossroads Conference title is the weather. Anyone know a stop-the-snow dance?
9. Kankakee Valley (9) 10-5
A six-game winning streak was snapped against Crown Point. The Kougars need to shake it off for the final five.
10. Hobart (10) 9-6
The new year has not been as kind to the Brickies as 2013 was. Hobart is still searching for its first win of 2014, and the remaining games on the schedule aren't as kind to the Bricks.
On the bubble: Washington Township (12-4), Kouts (9-6), Griffith (8-7), Portage (8-8), Whiting (10-6), Chesterton (8-8), South Central (8-6), Valparaiso (8-8).