"Sweet sixteen” is what the final 16 teams or players in a tournament are sometimes called. The term “sweet sixteen” has been used in the Illinois high school boys’ basketball tournament since at least 1935; other state tournaments have also used the name “sweet sixteen.”
The “sweet sixteen” name has been used by sportwriters to refer to the NCAA Division I men’s basketball championship tournament since at least 1966 and 1973.
Similar numerical terms named after the remaining tournament entries include “elite eight” and “final four.”
Wikipedia: Sweet Sixteen
Sweet Sixteen may refer to:
. Sweet sixteen (birthday), a party thrown in honor of a girl’s or very rarely, a boy’s, sixteenth birthday, primarily in the United States
. Sweet Sixteen, a hill in the Matthews Range (Ldoinyo Lenkiyio), Laikipia district, Rift Valley Province, Kenya
. Sweet Sixteen, the final sixteen teams in the men’s and women’s respective NCAA Division I Basketball Championships
. Sweet Sixteen, the finals of the Kentucky high school basketball tournaments for boys and girls, each of which features 16 teams
Wikipedia: Sweet Sixteen (KHSAA State Basketball Championship)
The Kentucky High School Athletic Association boys’ and girls’ state basketball championships are single elimination tournaments held each March featuring 16 high schools. Colloquially known as the Sweet Sixteen (the KHSAA holds a trademark on the phrase), the tournament takes place over 4 days at Lexington’s Rupp Arena for the boys until 2014 and Bowling Green’s E. A. Diddle Arena on the campus of Western Kentucky University for the girls until 2011. The state tournaments begin with District tournaments (usually with four, but sometimes with three or five teams) at sites across the state, district winners and runners-up advance to sixteen regional tournaments (usually eight teams each) with the Regional Champions advancing to the Sweet Sixteen. Seeding for the Sweet Sixteen is determined by a blind draw, broadcast on statewide television.
Since its 1918 inception the Sweet Sixteen has built a legacy that includes dynasty teams and dramatic underdog stories.
20 March 1935, Alton (IL) Evening Telegraph, “16 Survivors of State Cage Play Pair Up Thursday,” pg. 20, col. 5:
CHAMPAIGN,March 20 (AP)—The “sweet sixteen” of Illinois high school basketball, last of a field of 860, will pair off here tomorrow for the opening round of the state tournament.
20 March 1935, Rockford (IL) Register-Republic, “Rabs Arrive in Champaign for Clash Thursday” by Dick Ramey, pg. 15, col. 1:
Here’s the rating as the “sweet sixteen” await eight first round battles on the opening day: ...
Google News Archive
11 March 1940, Telegraph-Herald (Dubuque, IA), “Illinois Cage Race Wide Open; Annual State Tournament Will Begin Thursday,” pg. 9, col. 6:
Seven of the “sweet sixteen”—Granite City, Salem, Taylorville, Champaign, Dundee, harris and Beardstown—are regional tournament runnerups while Hebron is the only survivor of the opening district competition.
11 March 1966, Rockford (IL) Morning Star, pg. B2, col. 1:
Play Opens Tonight
By United Press International
The “Sweet Sixteen” of college basketball—seeking the four coveted spots in the NCAA finals at College Park, Md., next weekend—start two nights of hectic regional play tonight at four sites across the nation.
March 19, 1973
Down To The Sweet Sixteen
The season’s survivors continue their battle into the NCAA regionals. By Saturday just four will be left, and only the surprise of the decade will keep one of them from being irrepressible UCLA
Google News Archive
16 March 1981, The Daily Reporter (Spencer, IA), “Weekend upsets stun NCAA” by Fred Lief (UPI Sports Writer), pg. 5, col. 1:
After a wild whirl of a weekend in college basketball the NCAA was left with its Sweet Sixteen.
Google News Archive
6 April 1982, Lewiston (ID) Morning Tribune, “Luncheon to honor Vandals today,” pg. 1C, cols. 1-2:
The Vandals finished the season with an overall of 27-3 after losing to Oregon State in the “Sweet Sixteen” bracket of the NCAA playoffs.
March 31, 1986
19th Hole: The Readers Take Over
Edited by Gay Flood
Curry Kirkpatrick was wrong to characterize the North Carolina Tar Heels as “late, not so great and currently prostrate” in his article One Devil Of A Team (March 17). He should instead hail them as models of consistency. Carolina is the only basketball team in America to reach the regional round of the “sweet sixteen” in the NCAA tournament for six consecutive years! My hat is off to the players, the athletic staff and the whole university for this accomplishment.
Word Mark SWEET SIXTEEN
Goods and Services IC 041. US 107. G & S: EDUCATIONAL AND ENTERTAINMENT SERVICES; NAMELY, THE ORGANIZING AND CONDUCTING OF SPORTING EVENTS, AND THE PROMOTION OF ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE. FIRST USE: 19690325. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19690325
Mark Drawing Code (1) TYPED DRAWING
Serial Number 73687836
Filing Date October 5, 1987
Current Filing Basis 1A
Original Filing Basis 1A
Published for Opposition March 22, 1988
Change In Registration CHANGE IN REGISTRATION HAS OCCURRED
Registration Number 1492656
Registration Date June 14, 1988
Owner (REGISTRANT) KENTUCKY HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION UNINCORPORATED ASSOCIATION KENTUCKY 2280 EXECUTIVE DRIVE LEXINGTON KENTUCKY 40505
Attorney of Record Patrick M. Torre
Type of Mark SERVICE MARK
Affidavit Text SECT 15. SECT 8 (6-YR). SECTION 8(10-YR) 20080105.
Renewal 1ST RENEWAL 20080105
Live/Dead Indicator LIVE
New York City • Sports/Games • (1) Comments • Thursday, March 22, 2012 • Permalink
Other than calling it as “The Kentucky High School Athletic Association boys’ and girls’ state basketball championships”, it’s a lot better referring it as a Sweet Sixteen. And oh by the way, good luck to all the teams who’ll be playing!