Bob Tallent doesn't sound like the coach of a basketball team which has lost four in a row.

Tallent says his George Washington Colonials can win the Eastern Eight Tournament which begins today and advance to the NCAA Tournament.

The Colonials (15-10, 4-6 in the conference) face Pittsburgh (15-10, 5-5), a team they defeated in the regular season, in a first-round game at 9 p.m. in the Pittsburgh Civic Center.

If the Colonials get by the Panthers, they will face in the semifinals the Villanova-Penn State winner, Friday at 7 o'clock. In other games today Rutgers meets West Virginia and Duquesne plays Massachusetts.

"I think being in the tournament has us excited and we'll be ready," said Tallent yesterday. "It's a new season now and we can win it all.

"We've lost four in a row and haven't played well at times lately, but we played as well as we have all season at Georgetown before losing. We were bad against AU, the next game, though.

"When we are ready and want to play we have a good team, but when we aren't motivated, we are mediocre.

"We've had some good workouts the last couple of days and I feel optimistic. If we play the way we can, we can win the whole thing and I see no reason why we shouldn't," he added.

Tallent will start a familiar lineup --Glenn, Tom Tate and Bob Lindsay.

Villanova and Rutgers, tied for the regular-season conference championship with 7-3 records, are the pretournament favorites.

Former Mackin High School star Keith Herron is Villanova's best player but he has a knee injury. Because of that and illness to some of Villanova's other players, the Wildcats faltered late in the season. All except Herron are back at 100 percent now.

"If he (Herron) is at full strength they are the best team, and if he isn't, then it's Rutgers," Tallent said.

The Colonials lost twice to Villanova this season and split two games with Rutgers.

GW's strength all season has been the front line. At times Zagardo has dominated and Anderson has been a show-stopping forward.