Posted Online: Dec. 06, 2012, 6:31 pm

BOYS' HOOPS PREVIEW: Rock Island (6-0, 1-0 Big 6) at United Township (1-6, 0-1)

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Tonight: United Township hosts Rock Island in a 7:30 Western Big 6 Conference game at the Panther Den. Sophomores start at 6.

Twitter updates: @danmak57

Saturday: United Township travels to Davenport Central for a 6:30 contest; Rock Island hosts Bloomington at 7:30.

Starting lineups
Rock Island:
G: C.J. Carr, 5-6 Jr. (14.2 ppg, 2.2 rpg), Brian Richardson, 6-0 Sr. (12.3, 3.7) & Trey Sigel, 6-1 Jr. (16.0, 2.8); F: Raahsaan Brown, 6-3, Sr. (12.0, 5.0) & Rob Johnson, 6-2, Sr. (4.8, 6.0).

United Township: G: Trevor May, 5-8 Jr. (3.5 ppg, 2.3 rpg), Keegan Wenskunas, 5-8 Jr. (4.6, 1.3), Ryan Merideth, 6-2 So. (4.9, 2.3) & Lamont Mitchell, 6-3 So. (10.4, 6.3); F: Dalton Oakes 6-3 Jr. (0.3, 1.9).

Why watch: The Rocks look to start a season 7-0 for the second time in three years. Meanwhile, United Township looks to snap a four-game losing streak. ... Rocky has won five consecutive games in the series and the last three meetings at the Panther Den. ... Rocky senior guard Brian Richardson returns to the starting lineup for the first time in two weeks. Richardson missed three games with a hamstring injury before playing in a reserve role during the Rocks' 62-44 win over Minooka on Saturday. ... During their losing streak, the Panthers have reached the 50-point mark once. Their 61-58 loss to Davenport West on Tuesday was their only game in that stretch not decided by double figures. "Our kids are getting a better understanding of what we want and the level we need to play," UT coach Marc Polite said. ... Only one of Rocky's games this year has been decided by less than 18 points. ... The Rocks have five players averaging nine points or more, including four who reach double figures. "We're doing some good things," Rocky coach Thom Sigel said. "We're trying to stay focused on how we want to get better. There are some areas we've been good at. But we want to be more consistent." ... The Rocks are shooting a league-best 50.8 percent (151 of 297) from the field.

Rock Island coach Thom Sigel: "We're focusing on having to go on the road in the Big 6. It means you have to be focused and ready to go."

United Township coach Marc Polite: "The level they're playing at right now is as good as I've seen from a team that has some new faces. They're playing really well. They're playing with a great flow and rhythm right now. They're the class of the league right now."
By Daniel Makarewicz, danmak@qconline.com