Rutgers players and coach Mike Rice talked about it plenty of times the last few months, the Big East knows it, and looking at the size and depth of the past few opponents it is simple to see.
Yet, sophomore Dane Miller is dismissing that notion as a reason for Rutgers' skid.
Following the Scarlet Knights' 74-65 loss Saturday to No. 25 Georgetown in front of 7,122 at the Rutgers Athletic Center, Miller didn't want to hear about being undermanned and undersized.
"At the end of the day, we're still men," Miller said after the fifth loss in six games. "We still have to play basketball. That's what we came here for. If we didn't want the opportunity, half the people would have left during the summer. People that were here last year stayed for a reason.
"We're in the games. We're not undermanned. We have to come out and stay with the energy for 40 minutes."
Still, the Hoyas had more size, better athleticism and much sharper shooting eyes.
After shooting 25.6 percent from 3-point range in its first five games, Georgetown (13-5, 2-4 Big East) made 11 of 22 (50 percent) against the Scarlet Knights. By contrast, the Hoyas were 12 of 26 on 2-point attempts, but had 18 second-chance points.
"I think we're improving, and the ‘Ls' keep mounting," Rutgers coach Mike Rice. "You keep grinding, and you keep improving in practice. …I'm not satisfied with our guys' work in practice, and I think that's where we're missing a little bit, and can improve a little more."
Austin Freeman did much of the damage with 25 points, including four 3-pointers, and nine rebounds.
Scarlet Knights freshman center Gilvydas Biruta, who played poorly last week at Connecticut, was replaced in the starting lineup by Austin Johnson for the first time this season and responded with team-highs of 14 points and six rebounds.
"I knew I wasn't going to start before (Rice) told me. I was ready for it," Biruta said. "I deserved it."
Rutgers (10-7, 1-4) was plagued by poor second-half starts in losses at Villanova and Connecticut, and it was more of the same against the Hoyas.
Georgetown came out of intermission with a 13-3 run, a spurt over 4:31 that included a quartet of 3-point shots.
Rutgers chipped away, and used a 7-0 run to pull within 47-43 with on Beatty's 3-point with 9:59 left. However, Freeman hit a trey 19 seconds later and Rutgers got no closer the rest of the way.
"We had a few mental breakdowns," Mitchell said. "In the Big East, you can't have mental breakdowns, and it cost us."