SAN ANTONIO (WOOD) — For some, Thursday’s Sweet 16 matchup between Michigan and Villanova is personal.
Fifth-year senior Eli Brooks was a freshman on the team during the 2017 to 2018 season, when Michigan lost to Villanova in the National Championship game in San Antonio.
Jaaron Simmons also played for the Wolverines as a senior that year. Simmons is still on the team, but in a different capacity: He’s on staff as a video editor for the Wolverines, but says a win against the Wildcats would still mean a ton.
“Every game is personal,” said Simmons. “We are for competitors only and we want to win every game we play.”
The 2017 to 2018 campaign was Simmons’ first season with the Wolverines after transferring from Ohio University, marking his first time playing in the NCAA Tournament. He played a big role in getting Michigan to the title game, hitting a clutch three-pointer that sparked a run to get them a win over Loyola Chicago in the Final Four.
“That experience is remarkable, I will never forget that opportunity, and being able to get back to a position where we can possibly make it to the Final Four again and play against Villanova, the team that beat us,” said Simmons. “I’m looking forward to that, I won’t be on the floor competing this time, I’ll be rooting the guys on.”
Tip-off against the No. 2 seed Wildcats in the Sweet 16 is set for 7:30 p.m. ET.