NCAA Basketball: Xavier at Marquette

Marquette star Tyler Kolek will miss the Golden Eagles' final two games of the regular season and is expected to be re-evaluated prior to their first game in the Big East Tournament, the program announced Monday. Kolek suffered an oblique injury vs. Providence on Wednesday and did not return to the game after exiting in the second half. He also missed then-No.5 Marquette's 89-75 loss to No. 12 Creighton on Saturday

Marquette's loss this weekend and No. 3 UConn's win Sunday over Seton Hall secured the Huskies the outright Big East regular-season title for the first time since 1999, which may have made the decision for Marquette to rest its star more straightforward. Marquette won the title last season, but was officially eliminated from contention this weekend.

Kolek, an All-American last season, has been one of the most electric point guards in college basketball this season and leads Marquette in assists per game at 7.6 while adding 15.0 points per game on the season. Marquette finished with just seven assists to seven turnovers without Kolek vs. the Bluejays.

Junior guard Kam Jones, the team leader in scoring on the season, is likely to seize a bigger opportunity as a playmaker in Marquette's offense in the absence of Kolek as he nurses back to health. The injury to Kolek is especially damaging after Marquette lost freshman guard Sean Jones -- who was second on the team in assist rate behind Kolek -- in January to a torn ACL.

Jones is a nuclear-caliber scorer who has averaged 27.0 points over his last four games for the Golden Eagles, but no one on the team has the dynamic playmaking ability Kolek brings, particularly as a passer. 

"[Tyler] injured his oblique in the Providence game making a pass that only Tyler can make," Marquette coach Shaka Smart said this weekend. "It's a rare injury in basketball. But it's one that impacts how you play and what you do out there. Your core is crucial to any movement in the game of basketball. Good news is he's already feeling better. Tough news is that it's already March 2. It's not the best time of year for something like this to happen."

Smart added that Kolek was hopeful he could play Saturday despite missing practice on Friday but he woke up feeling worse on Saturday and spiked a fever, so the team decided that it was in his best interest to play it safe and rest.

Marquette is a projected No. 2 seed in Jerry Palm's latest Bracketology.

Kolek has started all 28 games he appeared in for Marquette this season and is averaging 15.0 points, 7.6 assists, 4.1 rebounds and shooting 40% from 3-point range -- all career-bests. He's coming off a career season in which he won Big East Player of the Year after leading Marquette to its first regular season conference championship since 2013.