The Ragin' Cajuns rode smoothly through the beginning of the season, but conference play gave them a wake up call last week.

Georgia Southern shocked Louisiana on Saturday, then Georgia State shot the lights out at the Cajundome for two straight losses. It was the first time they lost two consecutive games since the very beginning of the season, but Head Coach Bob Marlin is remaining calm.

"This is conference play. This is what we expected," Marlin said. He added, "We knew that we were going to have some bumps along the road. Our margin for error is slim."

The two losses dropped Louisiana to 2-3 in conference play, but there are eight teams within one game of each other in the Sun Belt standings. Marlin's team still has plenty of time to jockey for a solid seed before the conference tournament, but he wasn't sugar coating the fact that the teams from Georgia took the wind out of their sails.

"Their guards outplayed our guards in both games," Marlin stated plainly.

They were the first two losses in the newly renovated Cajundome. When you get hot, teams always want to be the ones to throw a bucket of water on the flames.

Georgia State dropped over 100 points on the Cajuns, and they shot over 60 percent. They made it impossible for Louisiana to keep up in their own house, and it added to the lingering hangover from an emotional loss to Georgia Southern two days before.

Marlin knows his team needs to prepare to get everybody's best shot, especially at home.

"People come in ready to play against us, and that was certainly the case last night against Georgia State," Marlin said. "Because of our early success this season [at home], we have a target on our back when teams come in."

Ike Smith and Tookie Brown went off on Saturday, and the entire Georgia State roster was feeling it on Monday. The opponents both had great nights on offense, but Marlin wants his team to do better defensively and learn from their mistakes.

He's depending on leaders like Jay Wright, Bryce Washington and Johnathan Stove to educate the youngsters on how to deal with losses and don't let hem get in your head. As coaches like to say, you can't let a team beat you twice.

Speaking of youngsters, Marlin mentioned that he is waiting to get a little boost in the back court.

"We miss Kadavion (Evans). We need another guard to play in our rotation," Marlin said.

The closer teams get to the conference tournament, the more depth starts to come into play. Evans provides another perimeter shooter into the mix as well, and the Ragin' Cajuns could use another body at the guard position to help handle the load.

In his weekly press conference (above), Marlin diagnosed the two losses and how his team is handling the situation, and he previewed the upcoming matchup with Texas State. There's a lot of season left to figure things out, and Marlin is the man with the plan.

(photo by Brad Kemp/RaginCajuns.com)