1819: Sweet 16

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Sweet 16
Every year I make out my bracket at the season, and every year it's busted before the first game when I find out which teams are playing.
Title text: Every year I make out my bracket at the season, and every year it's busted before the first game when I find out which teams are playing.


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[The comic shows a direct elimination bracket (a single-elimination tournament): there is a single match played by every pair of teams, and the winners of those matches are paired up for the next round of matches, this continues until there are no more matches to be played. There are sixteen teams described here (hence the number in the title), eight on each side of the empty rectangle in the middle. Every two teams are connected, these connectors are then also connected, these connectors are yet again connected, and a final pair of connectors, after making one counter-clockwise right angle turn, end up in the top and bottom edges of the central rectangle. The bracket is empty, no results of any of the matches are indicated.]

[These are paired.]
A school with a dog on their team
A school whose team is entirely dogs

[These are paired.]
A dog team with one human
A dog team with one cat

[These are paired.]
A baseball team playing basketball
A basketball team with baseball gear

[These are paired.]
NBA2K17 top players
NBA2K17 top developers

[These are paired.]
The 1988 Los Angeles lakers
Four kindergarteners and Lebron James

[These are paired.]
Boxers playing basketball
Basketball players in boxing gloves

[These are paired.]
A team playing on stilts
A team playing on Segways

[These are paired.]
A bad team that would make a good Cinderella story
A good team playing in glass slippers

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Would the players in segways need to dribble? They aren't technically taking steps, so would it count as traveling?DrPumpkinz (talk) 08:26, 17 February 2020 (UTC)

I checked it out, if this truly is a basketball comp, then the 1988 Los Angeles Lakers win hands-down. Themanhimself11 (talk) 10:25, 3 April 2017 (UTC)

The youngest members of the '88 Lakers are now in their 50s, which would be a significant handicap. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is 69! The team with the best chance here is probably the regular basketball team wearing baseball equipment; with the exception of catcher's gear, it's the least restrictive of all the options. 18:44, 3 April 2017 (UTC)
Not if the baseball equipment includes cleats. 01:10, 4 April 2017 (UTC)
This being Randall, they'll probably be playing basketball by Marquess of Queensberry rules. Nialpxe (talk) 11:22, 3 April 2017 (UTC)
Looking at this comic as a whole, I feel I can guarantee that he meant the 1988 Lakers today. Skilled then, but 30 years older and slower. As for the baseball team / gear matchup, this begs the question if they can use the equipment... A guy swinging a baseball bat would make an effective blocker and make a significant difference, no matter how unskilled they are AT basketball. :) - NiceGuy1 04:28, 7 April 2017 (UTC) I finally signed up! This comment is mine. NiceGuy1 (talk) 04:57, 13 June 2017 (UTC)
A lot of people who play NBA 2K17 are actually good in real life, so they should have a pretty good chance.


Minor detail - NBA 2K17 is made by 2K Games, rather than EA. 12:43, 3 April 2017 (UTC)

My bad. Must've confused it with the NBA Live series by EA. Nialpxe (talk) 14:31, 3 April 2017 (UTC)

The additional text says, "Every year I make my bracket at the season ...." Should that say "at the end of the season"? -- 13:20, 3 April 2017 (UTC)

I was thinking it should say "at the beginning of the season," thus explaining why his bracket is busted before the postseason begins. Clearly something is missing! Miamiclay (talk) 15:52, 3 April 2017 (UTC)
I know almost nothing about most sports, and less about basketball (at least the sports fan end of it), and with this explanation I feel certain it's "beginning". Somewhat pointless at the end, when all is over and settled. They would make such brackets to either predict how the Sweet 16 will fill out, or to record how it DID fill out. With the mouse-over contribution, these are clearly predictions. I wonder if Randall hedged between saying "at the beginning of the season" and "early in the season", since the Sweet 16 seems to come about once the season is well underway, so then "early" would be more accurate, then he forgot to pick one... - NiceGuy1 04:28, 7 April 2017 (UTC) I finally signed up! This comment is mine. NiceGuy1 (talk) 04:57, 13 June 2017 (UTC)

What we should explain for non-USA people to understand this comic is that it is an annual tradition to predict the full bracket of games and compare the predictions with friends and workmates. It's not just "a competition bracket": it's the annual "I'm trying to picture what would these opponents do". 14:45, 3 April 2017 (UTC)

The real question is, how long will it be before there's an XKCD Bracket II Twitter? 15:27, 3 April 2017 (UTC)

Could "A dog team with one human" be a reference to the Iditarod? 19:36, 3 April 2017 (UTC)

First thing I pictured when I saw that pairing, a dogsled team (then a dogsled team led by a cat). Of course, this was before I realized the basketball theme. :) Not sure if Randall was thinking of a dogsled team playing basketball, or if he just reversed the Air Bud scenario. - NiceGuy1 04:28, 7 April 2017 (UTC) I finally signed up! This comment is mine. NiceGuy1 (talk) 04:57, 13 June 2017 (UTC)

Could the basketball/baseball teams be a reference to Michael Jordan (in)famous 1993–1994 period during which he retired from basketball and played baseball instead? -- 09:34, 4 April 2017 (UTC)

I'm surprised no one's made a "swinger for the LA Lakers" joke yet... --JayRulesXKCD what's up? 14:56, 4 April 2017 (UTC)

The NBA 2k17 top developers team might refer to a team made up of NBA 2k17 developers that was created for the game. In some sports video games the developers will create a hidden or bonus team composed of people on the development team, with really good abilities. -- 16:45, 4 April 2017 (UTC)

I interpret that matchup to mean video game players vs video game developers in a real game of basketball. If you ignore realty and pander to the stereotypes then both teams would be pretty unathletic. 18:04, 4 April 2017 (UTC)
Yeah, these are all games to be played in real life, in person. And while there is sure to be many skilled basketball players among all the game players and game developers (a passion for the sport in real life would draw someone to both), who says the skilled real life players will be among the "top" video game players or developers? The only thing that can transfer is strategy. Actual skills in one form won't confer skill in the other. NiceGuy1 04:28, 7 April 2017 (UTC) I finally signed up! This comment is mine. NiceGuy1 (talk) 04:57, 13 June 2017 (UTC)

I think Air Bud should become a category due to the number of comics referencing the films. 05:27, 5 April 2017 (UTC)

Side note: Since coming here Tuesday night for this comic, the ExplainXKCD site has seemed rather different, minimalized. Not sure if my iPad 1 is messing up, or if this is some new mobile version of the site, or if the site is messed up. Anybody else seeing this? For example, the entire left pane is missing, including the site's logo. And this text box is only using half the width of the screen. Tonight I went to a comic I last saw normal, as a control test, and it similarly looked minimized. NiceGuy1 04:28, 7 April 2017 (UTC) I finally signed up! This comment is mine. (Side side note, the site has returned to looking fine for a while, maybe since it went down for maintenance?) NiceGuy1 (talk) 04:57, 13 June 2017 (UTC)

Considering what Cinderella's glass slippers survived in the story, either they were not real glass or they were magic. Wait ... actually they were pretty obviously both, so ... -- Hkmaly (talk) 23:51, 7 April 2017 (UTC)

In the table it reads "It should be noted that the NBA requires a minimum of 13 team members." However, this comic is clearly related to College-level basketball, specifically NCAA Men's Division I Basketball. The only rules of which governing minimum team size is Rule 3, Section 2, Article 1 which states, "At the start of the game, each team shall consist of five players ...". Article 2 makes it clear a team can continue to play with fewer than five players after starting with five. Therefore, the note should be deleted.