FC Barcelona got off to a great start to the season; it won its first eight games en route to claiming first place in regular season Group A. Barcelona was a thoroughly solid team with some 11 players averaged more than 5 points per game. All-Euroleague center Ante Tomic and All-Eurocup forward Justin Doellman led Barcelona in scoring, each with 10.4 points per game. Barcelona ranked third in the regular season in scoring and performance index rating, led all teams in free throw accuracy, was second in three-point accuracy and defensive rebounds and third in assists. Tomic, playmaker Marcelinho Huertas and scoring king Juan Carlos Navarro - when available - have been the team leaders while youngsters Alex Abrines, Tomas Satoransky and Mario Hezonja are proving the future belongs to them.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR: Whenever Barcelona meets its archrival Real Madrid, all of Europe turns its eyes on El Clasico. All the more so when the two giants clash in the Euroleague, which they will do in Top 16 Round 6 for the 21st time. Barcelona has won 12 of the first 20 Euroleague meetings between them, but Madrid has claimed the last two, which were perhaps the most important of all: the semifinals at the 2013 and 2014 Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Fours.
GOING FORWARD: Some of its newcomers are still adjusting to playing for the biggest club in their careers and that can make Barcelona even stronger in the long run. Justin Doellman was the Spanish League and the Eurocup Finals MVP last season and should make the difference at power forward. DeShaun Thomas and Tomas Satoransky have shown hints of how they can help the team in more important games. And French League scoring leader Edwin Jackson just joined the team. Barcelona has battled injuries, too; only five players took part in all 10 regular season games and only two - Huertas and Tomic - started all of them. Barcelona has a 47-5 Top 16 record in Xavi Pascual's six full seasons as head coach.