Sometimes you just want to believe the hype.
No longer the under-funded regional battler, the rebuilt Illawarra Hawks are suddenly viewed as a genuine NBL title contender.
But how do fans, the players and coaches handle the pressure even before tip-off for the NBL season?
Several basketball experts have the Hawks locked in for a top four spot, while respected NBL pundit Liam Santamaria has them No.1 in the 'power rankings' in terms of pre-season form.
They beat Melbourne United and South East Melbourne, but having two NBL Blitz games cancelled along the way only adds to the mystery of what they're capable of.
Rob Beveridge knows better than most about handling the weight of expectation.
Bevo delivered Perth a championship in 2010, beating the little team that could, Illawarra, in the grand final series under Gordie McLeod.
He's since taken the Hawks to a grand final series, again going down to a Wildcats franchise which has made the finals every year for more than three decades.
So how do the Hawks, with a roster which offers fans a reason to believe this could be the year they win the NBL crown for the first time since 2001, deliver on their potential this season?
Beveridge argues coach Brian Goorjian is both the reason the spotlight is squarely on them and the solution to dealing with it.
"A lot of it is the Goorjian factor," Beveridge said.
"He's the most successful, most experienced coach, he's the national coach, a coach who just knows how to win.
"He won't let the hype get to them, he's a master at handling pressure and expectation, so I don't think it's going to be too much of a problem.
"Among the fans and in the community, there's optimism because they did really well last year and this team is stronger, with more offensive punch.
"But he'll be there working them hard and keeping them level-headed, because it's a long season and you always need a lot of luck to win a championship."
In Perth, a title was more demand than hope. It's why Beveridge still rates the Wildcats among the contenders, along with Melbourne United.
He reckons the Hawks will make the playoffs, but the fourth spot can be raffled off among "four or five teams".
"In Perth, the moment you walked in the door there was expectation," he said.
"We had (then owner) Jack Bendat lecturing us about winning championships, it was a must-win culture."
And while the Hawks may not have reached those levels of scrutiny, he reckons they're well-placed for a title shot, in the second season since the club's latest financial collapse.
"We made a grand final with the Hawks in my second year," he said.
"We were busted after that Adelaide series, Perth were rested and waiting for us. Now, they have more resources and support around the club and the playing talent to do it."
Sunday, 1pm (round one)
ADELAIDE v ILLAWARRA
TV: Live on ESPN and 10 Peach