in 06/07 we also went 7-1 and made the playoffs despite predictions that were placing us around 27-30 wins.
I think there's a good correlation and not just random chance. To go 7-1 it shows a team that has good depth.
that being said, our schedule was very easy, with mostly home games against bad teams, and the only strong road game was against a team playing without their starters.
I still think we're underrated - all of our top players have the potential to play beyond the general expectations, based on the evaluations I've seen lately. If they do so, we'll make the playoffs or come really close.