(Last week's ranking in parentheses)
1. Merrillville 16-1 (1)
The Pirates finished off a tough three-game homestand -- Valparaiso, Lowell and Lake Central -- on Thursday against the Indians. Still showing they're the best team in Da Region. Shifting into fourth gear for a drive in March.
2. E.C. Central 12-4 (2)
The Cardinals have won five straight, including a big win over Andrean. Now, Crown Point comes to town for a Saturday afternoon tilt that should sell a few tickets, and likely have some college scouts there, too. This will be above the rim.
3. Griffith 15-1 (3)
The Panthers had a few days off, which was likely good for the legs and lungs. But a big, big Northwest Crossroads Conference game at Munster on Thursday will surely be tough. While this team is very good, there is work to do in order to make another run.
4. Lowell 14-4 (4)
The Red Devils ran toe to toe at Merrillville last Saturday before falling late. They drove back to the city Thursday to face the Scott Hicko-less Andrean 59ers. Joe Delgado's team has shown they can play with anyone. But can they win?
5. Crown Point 10-6 (5)
The Bulldogs have won five in a row, including a big win over Portage on Thursday night. An afternoon game in East Chicago on Saturday is next up for C.P. This one will be a great tester for the 'Dogs. Time to get on up fellas.
6. Valparaiso 13-5 (6)
The Vikings had their six-game winning streak halted by a four-point loss at Merrillville. No shame there. They might get another chance in March. After LaPorte on Thursday night, it's Bishop Noll in a good Saturday matinee.
7. Lake Central 12-6 (NR)
This could be the most dangerous team in the coming postseason. Who would want to draw these Indians? While this isn't your older brother's Indians' team, they're still pretty good. And on any given night. Merrillville game is a great test.
8. Bishop Noll 12-4 (8)
Quietly, without a lot of notice, the Warriors have won six straight against Indiana teams. After the Gavit game Thursday, Noll travels to Valparaiso for a Saturday afternoon test. The Warriors can make some noise with a solid effort.
9. Chesterton 9-7 (7)
The Trojans are kind of just hanging on here after letting a tough one slip away at Lake Central. They looked to get some mojo back Thursday against improving Michigan City.
10. Boone Grove 13-2 (10)
The Wolves didn't bust 40 in either game, yet survived a scare from Kouts, then made C.P. sweat a little late before having their 13-game winning streak broken. They looked to get another one started Thursday at Wheeler, the first of three games in five days. The loss of lead guard Austin Bills (knee) is a big buzz kill.
On the bubble: 21st Century (12-6), Bowman Academy (9-6), Hammond (9-6), LaPorte (11-6), Marquette Catholic (12-5), Michigan City (9-8), Morgan Twp. (12-2), Morton (10-7), Munster (8-10), Washington Township (13-4).