North Carolina is No. 1 in college basketball, by preseason poll of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association released yesterday. Nos. 2-7, in order: UCLA, Kentucky, Louisville, Wichita State, Georgetown, Virginia . . .

Billy Martin, Associated Press pick as American League manager of the year 1974 (Texas), 1976 (New York) and 1980 (Oakland) is still No. 1 among American League managers, AP declares. Mr. Billyball of the A's, by winning the honor a fourth time, ties a Casey Stengel record. In nationwide media balloting, Martin drew 386 votes to 62 for Milwaukee's Buck Rodgers, 31 for Detroit's Sparky Anderson and on down to one entry on the dotted line for George Steinbrenner . . .

Jim Fanning is the 1982 Montreal manager, Expo chief executive John McHale appending that "Walter Alston signed 19 one-year contracts with the Dodgers; I hope Jim can do the same for us . . ."

There is an active NHL trade market out there, Capitals: Now Ian Turnbull, Toronto defenseman since 1973, traded to Los Angeles for Billy Harris, the ex-Islander right wing, and defenseman John Gibson. Turnbull had been pushing for a move, and a few days since he broke curfew last week in Colorado and got suspended, the Leafs accommodate him . . .

Arrested in Atlanta on charges of driving under the influence (allegedly weaving onto a median strip): West Virginia State Legislator Tom Pridemore, currently employed as NFL Falcons' free safety and flagged down at 4 o'clock the morning after the 17-14 loss at San Francisco . . . The Steelers, putting sub quarterback Cliff Stoudt on injured reserve with the broken arm sustained in a Seattle lounge mishap after Pittsburgh's 24-21 loss Sunday, presumably intended to activate ex-Pitt Panther Rick Trocano off injured status to replace Stoudt -- only to have the Cleveland Browns claim Trocano . . .

Friday the 13th event: Greater Washington Softball Hall of Fame dinner-dance time again, at Christ the King Parish Hall, Silver Spring. Inductees: Kitty Casale, Billy Bryant, Jeff Williams, Oliver Ellis, Bill Kaiser.

Old coaches never ---, they just ---. Bill Raftery, a week since quitting as basketball coach at Seton Hall, joins commentators on the Big East TV games of the week, Monday nights . . . Fair's fair: Now let's hear it for Coach Sonny Randle and Marshall U., proud possessors of the school's first Southern Conference football victory in 27 tries after spilling Appalachian State.