The Atlantic 10 (used to be Eastern Eight) coaches, in preseason poll, spot George Washington No. 2 in the West division, behind West Virginia and ahead of St. Bonaventure, Penn State, Duquesne. The East is sized up as Rutgers first, St. Joseph's and Temple tied for second, then Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Their prospective all-conference team: Roy Hinson, Rutgers; Tony Costner, St. Joe's; Greg Jones, WVU; Mark Jones, St. Bonaventure; and the only sophomore of the five, GW's 6-9 Mike Brown. The Colonials also have one of the five top-rated freshmen in Troy Webster . . .

With the NFL settlement, NBC-TV settles the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Classic, St. John's-North Carolina from Springfield, Mass., into Saturday, 2 p.m., instead of Sunday . . . And Metrosports, the Rockville-based syndicator, prepares to sue for breach of contract over the Tip-Off Classic committee scrapping its deal for ESPN coverage of the game (in a Saturday night slot) in favor of the major network opportunity. "Clearly we are going to court," said Metrosports counsel Steve Saferin, although "we have decided . . . to let NBC show the game" . . .

Howard's first-string center, sophomore Chauncey Terry, incurred a scratched (not detached) retina in practice and is out indefinitely, almost surely for at least a week of the season. The Bison may have to go with beginner Ousmana Ba, 6 feet 9 but just learning, in the post against St. Paul's in the Nov. 29 opener. Ba, from Dakar, Senegal, is here on engineering scholarship.