Bob Wade and Mark Amatucci used to coach high school basketball teams in the Baltimore area. They were rivals, and though they try to take the high road in discussing one another now that both are college coaches, the legend is that they didn't like each other.

"We kind of drew a lot of attention," said Amatucci, which is as close as either will come to saying he couldn't stand the other.

Tonight, they will meet again, as Wade's Maryland Terrapins and Amatucci's Loyola Greyhounds open the college basketball season at 7 in the first round of the MCI-Harbor Classic at the Baltimore Arena. The other semifinal has St. Joseph's playing Mississippi at 9. The consolation (7 p.m.) and championship (9 p.m.) will be Saturday.

Meanwhile, in other games involving area teams, Virginia gets rolling in the second game of the Investors Classic at University Hall. The Cavaliers, who were 21-10 last year, play at 9 p.m. against Columbia, after the Citadel and Rhode Island meet in the opener. The winners meet Saturday night.

Georgetown also begins its season today.

The Hoyas will face Hawaii-Loa College at 8 p.m. Hawaiian time (1 a.m. EST) at the Kaneohe Armory in the first of two games. The two teams will meet again Saturday on the naval base at Pearl Harbor. Hawaii-Loa, an NAIA school, was 13-19 last year.

Back home, Amatucci is beginning his sixth season at Loyola after amassing a 117-27 record at Calvert Hall High School in Towson. Wade begins his second season tonight, but his is an established program. This is Loyola's sixth season in Division I.

"To be honest, you try to put personal feelings aside," Amatucci said.

"I have to get a young team to learn to play together by playing against top competition like Maryland," he said. "Bob's been successful and he will be successful at Maryland. I wish we were on the same level as Maryland. It would make this matchup a lot more attractive, but we're not going to roll over.

"Loyola is going to come out trying to win. Hopefully, we will play {Maryland} on a year-to-year basis. But we're both professionals and you have to leave personal feelings out of it."

Both teams recruit in Baltimore and Wade recognizes that Loyola would gain more from a victory than would Maryland.

"Mark is a very fierce competitor and I know he's going to try his best to beat the University of Maryland," said Wade, who compiled a 272-24 record in 11 years at Baltimore's Dunbar High School.

"They {the Greyhounds} are going to be prepared and they are not going to quit. It's always great to play Mark. We had good encounters on the prep level. He's the same type of coach on the college level and I welcome the opportunity to play."

What Wade would also welcome is better defense and a more fluid offense than the Terrapins displayed in their exhibition loss to the Canadian national team.

"I don't want them to be hesitant," Wade said in reference to the offense. "We look to Derrick {Lewis} too much. We want every man to contribute the best he can."

In that exhibition game, Wade started Brian Williams at center, with Lewis and Dave Dickerson at forward, and Rudy Archer and Steve Hood at guard. Williams has practiced this week with a mask over his broken nose. Like the Bullets' Moses Malone, who wears goggles, Williams pushes the mask up on his forehead while shooting free throws.

The only spot where there seems to be the possibility of a change is at off-guard. John Johnson spent most of the last two practices working with the first unit, though Hood and Teyon McCoy also practiced there. Wade said yesterday he hadn't decided who would start.

"Consistency is what I want," Wade said of his team. "That's what we're looking for in the next few games."

Maryland is playing its first game exactly a month earlier than a year ago.

"I think we're head and shoulders above last year," Wade said. "The skill level is much higher than before."

In the other bracket, St. Joseph's Rodney Blake would seem to be the most interesting player -- at least on the surface, of which there is a lot. Blake is a 6-7, 250-pound senior center, who was an honorable mention all-America last year as the Hawks went 16-13.

"He's gifted," Coach Jim Boyle said succintly.

Asked if Blake's play was anything like that of Charles Barkley of the Philadelphia 76ers, who had similar measurements in college, Boyle said, "There are some physiological similarities.

"Charles and Rodney work out together from time to time. Charles hangs out at our gym. Charles dribbles a lot more than Rodney. I play Rodney at center because he's better than anyone else I've got."

In national games, No. 1 Syracuse, its ranking jeopardized by a season-opening loss, will attempt to make amends tonight in the 10th Great Alaska Shootout.