The pressure is on the Sharks according to Reading Rockets coach Manuel Peña Garcés.
BBL Trophy holders Sheffield travel to Berkshire on Sunday for their first match in the tournament.
The Rockets play in the National League Division One - the competition immediately below the British Basketball League.
Reading are currently second in their league with a game in hand on leaders Hemel Storm.
The Rockets are also through to the final of the National Cup where they will play Newham (NASSA) Neptunes in the final on January 26.
However, against the Sharks they are very much the underdogs and will use the opportunity to develop, according to Garcés.
He said: “Everybody is really excited about the game but the players are calm, we don’t have any pressure, because we just have to show how competitive we are.
“The normal thing is that one of the best teams in the BBL, such as Sheffield, would beat us, and we want to use this game to grow up and to learn.
“Obviously we are going to fight to win, it’s an important game for us, but all the pressure is on them, they are the Trophy holders and I am sure they want to repeat this achievement.”
Sharks have a habit of starting games they should win comfortably slowly and have been urged by coach Atiba Lyons to show more urgency in the early stages.
Even so they should have far too much quality for the Rockets.
Garcés said he has been doing his homework: “They have a long team and we know that Jeremie Simmons and BJ Holmes are really good players outside, with good shooting percentages and good assist rates.
“They also have a powerful inside players, with Demetrius Jemison, Mike Tuck and Patrick Horstmann; plus the rest of the team, who would all be very important players in any EBL1 team.”