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Mark Humphrey, Associated Press
Marshall forward Dennis Tinnon (1) fights Southern Mississippi guard Neil Watson (5) for the ball in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Conference USA tournament on Friday, March 9, 2012, in Memphis, Tenn.

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.