HATTIESBURG, Miss. — The thrill of making the NCAA tournament for the first time in 21 years has come and gone.

Now Southern Miss is trying to figure out a way to stick around for a while.

The ninth-seeded Golden Eagles (25-8) face eighth-seeded Kansas State (21-10) on Thursday in the second round in Pittsburgh.

Coach Larry Eustachy said there's plenty of similarities between the two teams, and that the Wildcats would be a formidable opponent. Kansas State has had stretches of very good play this season — including back-to-back wins over Missouri and Baylor in February.

Southern Miss faded some at the end of the season, losing four of seven games, including a 73-62 loss to Marshall in the Conference USA semifinals. The Golden Eagles have never won an NCAA tournament game.