Washington always has been considered a hotbed of college basketball, but attendance figures last weekend at games involving three area teams against three big-time programs indicate otherwise.

Last Saturday, then-No. 5 Georgetown hosted Texas-El Paso and drew only 8,037 at 19,035-seat Capital Centre, a game the Hoyas lost, 71-60.

American hosted then-No. 8 Ohio State and drew 3,967 at 5,000-seat Bender Arena to watch a Buckeyes rout, 109-73, and George Mason hosted then-No. 24 East Tennessee State and drew 4,602 at 10,000-seat Patriot Center, losing by 96-86.

Yes, the Redskins played the Patriots that afternoon and, yes, the weather was lousy. But the combined attendance for the three games was 16,606. Translation: A tripleheader of those games would not have been a sellout at Capital Centre.

Area fans will get another chance Saturday when George Mason plays Louisville at Patriot Center. Uniform Problems

When Central Connecticut State's new uniforms did not arrive in time for its first games of the season, Nov. 23-24 in St. John's Lapchick tournament, the players voted to wear their practice uniforms instead of the game uniforms they wore last season. They went 1-1 in the tournament.

The new uniforms showed up in time for their next game, Nov. 28 at Long Island University -- but just barely. The uniforms arrived at the school's athletic offices in New Britain about an hour after the team had left for the game.

However, athletic business manager Lisa Meyers jumped into her car and dashed an hour to Danbury, where the team was dining at a steak house. She made the delivery, but the Blue Devils haven't shown much appreciation: They lost to LIU and have lost their six other games since donning the new uniforms. . . .

When Alabama lost to North Carolina on Saturday, it was the Crimson Tide's third consecutive non-Southeastern Conference loss -- its longest nonconference losing streak since 1969-70. Alabama ended the streak Tuesday night with a 79-45 victory over VMI. . . .

Notre Dame, trying to give Coach Digger Phelps a decent 20th anniversary season, is off to a 2-7 start and has lost seven consecutive games, its worst losing streak since 1971-72, Phelps's first season at the school. Starting point guard Tim Singleton will be out at least until January and possibly the rest of the season because of a bulging disk in his back, but Phelps has recruited three members of the football team who will join his squad after the Orange Bowl, including 6-2 freshman quarterback-guard B.J. Hawkins of Potomac (Va.) High School. Grounded Hawks

St. Joseph's is off to a 1-5 start the hard way. The following occurred in home games on Dec. 3, 6 and 8, respectively: The Hawks lost an 11-point lead in the second half against Fordham, which won, 74-73, on a shot with seven seconds left. They lost a 14-point lead in the second half against Rutgers, which tied the game on a three-pointer with six seconds left in regulation and won, 75-69, in overtime. They lost a 12-point lead in the second half against Villanova, which took the lead for good with 41 seconds left and won, 83-82. . . .

Clemson Coach Cliff Ellis allowed senior forward Ricky Jones to arrive yesterday afternoon for the Tigers' game last night in Miami against Coppin State in the first round of Florida International's Golden Panther Invitational tournament. The reason? Jones was attending the school's mid-year graduation ceremonies, a significant event because Jones is the first member of his family to obtain a college degree and the first Clemson basketball player to graduate before his eligibility expired. . . .

Oklahoma's home-court winning streaks of 51 overall games and 75 nonconference games should get a test Saturday when the Sooners host Duke. Oklahoma has won 114 of its last 116 home games overall. After Duke, the Sooners' next home game will be Jan. 8 against Kansas, which holds the Big Eight record with 55 consecutive home-court victories from 1983-84 to 1987-88. . . .

Missouri (3-4) may find out today if junior guard Anthony Peeler has regained his academic eligibility. And top-ranked UNLV may find out today if 7-foot, 265-pound center Elmore Spencer, a junior college transfer, is eligible. If he is, he may move right into the rotation -- as if the Rebels really need him. Best of the Week

Going into last night's game against Butler, Purdue's starting off guard, Woody Austin, had committed one foul in seven games while averaging 25 minutes. . . . In Louisville's 86-79 victory over Western Kentucky Monday night, the Cardinals' LaBradford Smith made four of four three-point field goal attempts, but missed three of four dunk attempts. . . . Nebraska, off to a 9-1 start and ranked 22nd in the nation, won 10 games all of last season. . . . During one 10 1/2-minute stretch of its 172-112 victory over Loyola Marymount last Saturday, Oklahoma scored 60 points. Quote of the Week

New Hampshire Coach Jim Boylan on his team falling behind 32-0 during the first 11:48 of an 85-32 loss last Wednesday at Connecticut: "I think every coach's fear is that his team won't score. We almost accomplished that."