Credit Arizona's Sean Miller for scheduling aggressively

People who are confident, talented and secure in their jobs are more likely to challenge themselves and try things with little regard of what reality a negative outcome might bring. They tend to focus on the possible reward more than the possible risk.

I don't have any statistics to back up that theory.

But I think it's probably rooted in some truth.

And Sean Miller is one of those people.

"You can't win a game like this unless you play the game."

That's a quote Miller delivered to CBS Sports' Greg Anthony minutes after his top-ranked Arizona Wildcats improved to 11-0 on Saturday with a 72-70 win at Michigan, and I really love that quote. It highlights a philosophy I wish more coaches embraced -- a philosophy centered on the idea of playing real games against real opponents, sometimes on the road.

What is the harm?

To be clear, I get why a college football coach might hesitate to approach scheduling this way because you have to get six wins to qualify for a bowl, and you must be undefeated or close to undefeated to play for a title. In that sport, the number of wins often matters more than the quality of wins. So it's reasonable for college football coaches to schedule accordingly.

But college basketball is different.

A challenging true road game or two in November and December won't eliminate anybody from contention from anything even if those games result in losses, and no smart person will ever hold a competitive defeat in a difficult road game against a school. So what's the real risk in taking a team to places like San Diego State and Michigan?

Answer: There is no real risk.

Yes, losses in games like those games might cost a school some spots on somebody's AP ballot, and I'm aware losses can also sometimes affect the confidence of a team, particularly a young team. So I'm not suggesting there's no risk in scheduling aggressively. I'm just insisting that, if you expect your team to be good, the possible rewards of scheduling aggressively far outweigh any risks, and Miller seems to grasp this concept better that most.

"You can't win a game like this unless you play the game."

What a simple and true statement.

With this in mind, Miller agreed to visit San Diego State and Michigan, and now look. He already has two quality road wins that'll help tremendously on Selection Sunday, and I haven't even mentioned the neutral-court win over Duke. Bottom line, the Wildcats are ranked No. 1, and they deserve that ranking. They have a terrific resume, mostly because their coach wisely and fearlessly placed them in a position to go and get it.

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Gary Parrish is an award-winning college basketball columnist and television analyst for CBS Sports who also hosts the highest-rated afternoon drive radio show in Memphis, where he lives with his wife... Full Bio

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