The Rebels may fly under the radar, despite upsetting then-top-ranked North Carolina and a national Top 25 ranking. Look at their resume before they even enter non-conference play: of course the win over UNC, but a win on the road at UCSB, and demolitions of Cal at home and Illinois on a neutral floor. Losses to Wichita State and Wisconsin can almost be excused in my opinion due to the rarity it is that teams can go into the Kohl Center and Charles Koch Arena and find ways to win.
The Mountain West is no steam-roll of a schedule either- the conference is down BYU, sure, but still have New Mexico on the schedule twice with potential player of the year Drew Gordon, a young, but much-improved 12-2 Wyoming team at this point and one of the real surprises of the 2011-12 season, San Diego State home and away. Finishing that slate with another two losses at least is likely, but would put the Rebels in position to take home a three or four-seed when the 2012 Tournament seedings are announced in March.