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Mark Humphrey, Associated Press
Southern Mississippi head coach Larry Eustachy, center, talks to his players in the second half of an NCAA basketball game against Marshall at the Conference USA tournament on Friday, March 9, 2012, in Memphis, Tenn. Marshall won 73-62 to advance to the championship game on Saturday.

HATTIESBURG, Miss. — Southern Miss is headed to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1991.

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

It's been a long road for coach Larry Eustachy, who has rebuilt his career in eight seasons at Southern Miss.

Eustachy was once regarded as one of the best young coaches in the country. He took Iowa State to the Elite Eight in 2000, but had to resign following the 2003 season after photos surfaced of the coach partying with young women.

He got a second chance at Southern Miss, but it hasn't been a quick fix. The 56-year-old slowly built the program back to respectability and narrowly missed an NCAA bid last season after winning 22 games.