Our Clients:

Field Level Media - Professional sports content solutions | FLM

Mar 19, 2024 4:50 pm

No. 2 seed Marquette hoping Tyler Kolek returns vs. Western Kentucky

Kolek Marquette

No. 2 seed Marquette is hoping to get a big boost as it opens NCAA Tournament play Friday against No. 15 seed Western Kentucky in Indianapolis.

Golden Eagles head coach Shaka Smart is hoping to have star guard Tyler Kolek back after he missed the final three regular-season games and all three games in the Big East tournament with a strained oblique.

“The plan is for him to play,” Smart said. “But he’s got to go through a progression this week. And so once we get back on the practice court, we’ll be able to continue that progression.”

Marquette (25-9), which went 3-3 without Kolek, advanced to the Big East championship game before bowing out to No. 1 UConn. Conference USA tournament champion Western Kentucky (22-11) overcame a four-game losing streak at the end of the regular season.

Kolek was averaging 15.0 points. 7.6 assists and 4.7 rebounds before the injury on Feb. 28 in a home win over Providence.

“Obviously, we can’t wait to have him back,” teammate David Joplin said. “I was talking to him other day like, ‘Man, I can’t wait to have your back. I miss you out there.’ But until then, we’re going hold it down for him.”

Kam Jones leads Marquette at 16.8 points per game and has picked up the slack for Kolek.

This will be just the second meeting between Marquette and Western Kentucky, with Marquette prevailing, 79-60, in the opening round of the 1976 NCAA Tournament in Dayton, Ohio.

“We’re not satisfied just to be in it,” Smart said. “Actually, I know Coach (Steve) Lutz pretty well from Western Kentucky. He does a heck of a job. But more importantly, it’s about being the best us and that’s what we work toward all year.”

Western Kentucky qualified by beating UTEP 78-71 in the Conference USA tournament final. The Hilltoppers are led by Don McHenry, who is averaging 15.2 points this season. Brandon Newman (10.5 ppg) and Rodney Howard (10.0 ppg) also average double figures in scoring.

“When you get to the NCAA Tournament, your prep’s going to be short and you’re going to see an opponent that probably doesn’t know everything about you,” Lutz said. “So, it’s a fresh start is the way I look at it.

“Shaka Smart is a good coach. I know that he’s going to do a good job and his staff will do a good job in prepping, but it’ll be a new game where people are starting at square one, kind of like the beginning of the season. When we play Marquette on Friday, obviously we’ll give it our best but to get here at this point, especially in the first season, is fantastic.”

–Field Level Media

You may also like

Thunder, Pelicans
Apr 25, 2024 12:28 am

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Thunder rout Pelicans in Game 2

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 33 points and Chet Holmgren added 26 as the host Oklahoma City Thunder beat the New Orleans Pelicans 124-92 on Wednesday to take a 2-0 lead in…

celtics, heat
Apr 24, 2024 9:58 pm

Tyler Herro, Heat shoot down Celtics in Game 2

Tyler Herro sank six of Miami’s franchise-playoff-record 23 3-points as the Heat evened their Eastern Conference first-round playoff series with the Boston Celtics by earning a 111-101 road victory in…

lakers, nuggets
Apr 24, 2024 8:13 pm

Lakers eager to solve Nuggets in Game 3

The Los Angeles Lakers will at least return to the comfort of their home fans when they take on the defending champion Denver Nuggets on Thursday in Game 3 of…

More Basketball News

Thunder, Pelicans
Apr 25, 2024 12:28 am

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Thunder rout Pelicans in Game 2

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 33 points and Chet Holmgren added 26 as the host Oklahoma City Thunder beat the New Orleans Pelicans 124-92 on Wednesday to take a 2-0 lead in…

celtics, heat
Apr 24, 2024 9:58 pm

Tyler Herro, Heat shoot down Celtics in Game 2

lakers, nuggets
Apr 24, 2024 8:13 pm

Lakers eager to solve Nuggets in Game 3

Naz Reid
Apr 24, 2024 7:27 pm

Timberwolves C Naz Reid named Sixth Man of Year

DiVincenzo
Apr 24, 2024 4:07 pm

Sixers have backs against wall entering Game 3 vs. Knicks

Read all
fb-post
advertisment
title-icon

Upcoming events

See all odds
Array