Newcomer Temple and old/new Penn State will be introduced today as enlistees in the Eastern Eight--making it the Eastern Nine. Or whatever pizazzier name the conference fathers might dream up as they assemble at the Jersey Meadowlands.

Temple is upward bound from the East Coast Conference. Penn State returns egg-faced from a sojourn to seek bigger basketball things as an independent until Joe Paterno's grand plan for an all-sports league revolving around football could materalize--or wither, which it did with Pittsburgh's rejection. Pitt, of course, moves to the Big East next season, so there will be some fast shuffling of '82-83 basket schedules to set up the double round robins that both now-nine-team conferences essay.

It came close, this time, to being an Eastern 10. Holy Cross' president vetoed the Crusaders' imminent entry . . .

Chicago Bulls owner Arthur Wirtz whacks the Al McGuire pitch to come aboard as a consultant: "a stupid thing . . . absurd." Wirtz was ticked that NBC Al seemed to want unspecified duties plus percentage of gate. Never mind, "I still wish them luck," shrugs McGuire. "So the (Chicago Stadium) seats stay empty." Wirtz's riposte: "Does he want to be an owner . . . but have no money invested? We're going to be in the market for a coach. He has no qualifications as a coach." Ouch.

And NBA headquarters isn't gung-ho over Atlanta owner Ted Turner's qualifications as public address announcer. During Hawks-Detroit in the Omni, ref Joe Crawford chided regular p.a. man Marshall Mann for chuckling on mike as Coach Kevin Loughery was ejected. Later, Turner took over and cheer-led the Hawk victory. Joe Axelson, league director of operations, stifles his own chuckle, warns: "It is not to be done again" . . .

John Johnson, a SuperSonic stalwart through two championship playoffs with the Bullets, evidently is through: at 34, waived by Seattle with activation of Wally Walker from injury . . . Bullets? Playoffs? Tickets for Washington's first two 1982 playoff games (when/if) go on sale at Capital Centre Friday evening and other outlets Saturday; $14, $12, $8.50 . . . For $7.50 entry fee (forms at Centre), runners in Saturday's Bullets 10,000-meter road race also get otherwise $9 seating for Piston game Tuesday . . . Maryland women play Cheyney State at 9 p.m. Friday (not 7) after Tennessee-Louisiana Tech at 7 in NCAA basketball semifinals at Norfolk. Tickets, $7 public, $5 students, available at Cole Field House; ditto for noon Sunday final . . .

Gerry Cooney says his left shoulder is better, "no more pain," and he'll resume sparring in two weeks for Larry Holmes June 11. At a New York press conference, Cooney said he'll carry about 227 pounds into the Las Vegas ring. Only for seven rounds, predicted Holmes . . .

Pittsburgh Penguins fan David Brown, 23, has accepted a $27,500 settlement, ending trial of a suit against N.Y. Rangers and ex-Ranger, ex-Capital Greg Polis. Brown claims he has been epileptic since struck with a hockey stick, November 1978, after he and others in the stands heckled Polis and Phil Esposito. Injury-prone Polis is out of hockey . . .

Virginia's Ralph Sampson is the first junior to win the National Association of Basketball Coaches' player-of-year award, but then who knows if he'll be around in '83? . . . St. Louis U.'s new basketball coach is Rich Grawer, 269-85 at neighboring DeSmet High before assisting at Missouri last season . . . Boston College lets Coach Tom Davis talk with Wisconsin, where Bowling Green's John Weinert is an eager applicant.