The NCAA Tournament doesn’t begin in earnest until Thursday afternoon but the “First Four” got underway on Tuesday evening. For better or worse, the NCAA insists on telling the world that it is the “first round” of the tournament and, as such, everything that transpires in Dayton qualifies as part of March Madness. With that in mind, something fairly unusual transpired with 6:36 remaining in the game between Mount St. Mary’s and New Orleans and it came in the form of a scuffle between teammates.
Though the images above are described as a “choke” and the incident was later referred to as such during the post-game broadcast on TruTV, there is some wiggle room here based on the angle of the footage. What isn’t in doubt, though, is that New Orleans teammates Christavious Gill and Travin Thibodeaux exchanged words and then some physical contact in the form of shoving, a potential headlock and a possible choke.
As you can see, Thibodeaux, who happens to be the most productive interior player for the Privateers, was the more aggressive of the two in the incident and that earned him an apparent seat on the bench. The 6’9 junior never returned to the game and he finished with 11 points (on 5-for-6 shooting) in only 22 minutes during the eventual 67-66 loss to Mount St. Mary’s. It would be aggressive to state that Thibodeaux’s benching definitely cost UNO the game but it certainly didn’t help the team that he wasn’t on the floor and this issue had some big-picture ramifications.
You can judge as to whether this should be considered a “choke” or not, but New Orleans lost an NCAA Tournament game by one point and this incident was at the center of the story in Dayton.