FC Barcelona comes to Milan for its fifth Final Four appearance in Xavi Pascual's six full seasons on its bench, making his one of the most successful coaching tenures in the club's long and illustrious history.
Pascual became Barcelona's head coach right before the Top 16 in 2008. Any thoughts that he would be a placeholder until Barcelona hired a bigger-name coach disappeared when Pascual guided the team to the Spanish League finals that season. By 2010, Pascual had marched Barcelona to the club's second Euroleague trophy, becoming one of the youngest coaches to win the Euroleague, the first Spaniard in three decades to lead his team to the trophy, and that season's Euroleague Basketball Alexander Gomelskiy Coach of the Year.
Pascual's tenure has been highlighted by sustained excellence in the toughest parts of the season. With 12 victories to start this year's Top 16, Barcelona extended its record winning streak in that phase to 24. That followed 17 previous Top 16 wins in a row, interrupted by a single loss, giving Barcelona a Top 16 record of 41-3 over the last four seasons under Pascual. Until the final game before this season's playoffs, Pascual had been undefeated in 27 home games during the Top 16. In all, he has led Barcelona to a 122-31 record since his first game in February 2008, with more victories in that span than any other Euroleague team or coach.
The game Barcelona plays under Pascual is well known. Using a deep and versatile roster, Barcelona focuses on playing tough-as-nails defense while using an array of offensive weapons to overwhelm opponents. As they look for their second Euroleague crown together in Milan, Barcelona's consistent success has already proven Pascual to be one of the best basketball coaches of his generation.